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Cliff Mass gives take on Monday’s solar eclipse: Will it be worth watching?

Apr 5, 2024, 1:56 PM | Updated: 3:39 pm

Photo: The moon almost eclipses the sun during a near total solar eclipse as seen from Salem, Ore.,...

The moon almost eclipses the sun during a near total solar eclipse as seen from Salem, Ore., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (Photo: Don Ryan, AP)

(Photo: Don Ryan, AP)

A solar eclipse is approaching. On Monday, the sun will be covered as darkness takes over part of the world.

While the celestial phenomenon will awe those in Maine and other states, here in Washington not so much.

“You’re not gonna see anything worth looking at, unfortunately,” University of Washington Meteorologist Cliff Mass told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH on Friday.

We’re only going to have about 20% of the sun covered by the Moon, which is not very much. And on top of that, there’ll be plenty of clouds, especially on the coast. We’ll have some mixed clouds here over Western Washington. So you’re going to have a very, very minimal Eclipse here. And there’ll be plenty of clouds. So I’m afraid it will not be very dramatic here,” he continued.

Even Texas, where many people have flown to see the eclipse, will be cloudy, according to Mass.

More from Cliff Mass: ‘I don’t think they can say’ 2023 was the hottest year on record

Cascades best area to view solar eclipse in Washington

Although, Mass said there may be some breaks in Eastern Washington over the Cascades. So if you’re trying to see the eclipse in Washington, head toward the Cascades in Northwest Washington, where the best viewing period will be around 11 a.m. Monday.

However, only 20% of the eclipse will be visible in Washington, which comes nowhere near the overwhelming experience of a total eclipse, as Mass described.

The difference between a total eclipse and 99% is huge, 100% is a religious experience. I went through it last time here in Oregon, and I was scared deep down. It is an emotional experience of being in a total eclipse. But being in 95%, it’s nothing like it. It’s very moving. It is something that’s scary at a very basic fundamental animal level, when all of a sudden the sky turns dark, the animals respond, they quiet down, the birds come down. It’s just really eerie and strange.”

KTTH Host Jason Rantz asked if the eclipse affects weather patterns and Mass said it does change the weather.

At first, temperatures cool, and then things driven by the sun, like thunderstorms and instability tend to die down.

The eclipse also affects nighttime light.

“It turns dark. But the bizarre thing is, you could look to the horizon, and it can be light. So you know, the darkness is very limited. It’s only a few 100 miles. And so you can often see the edges where things are lit up, but you’re in darkness. It’s very weird,” Mass explained.

Rantz asked if there are any benefits to an eclipse to which Mass brought up the economic impact.

People book flights and hotels to get to the best viewing location, creating a major boom in terms of economic activity, according to Mass.

Mass said the best place in the U.S. to see Monday’s solar eclipse will be in northern Maine.

However, he reminded people to be careful when watching the eclipse, as it can damage the viewer’s eyes. To safely watch the eclipse, people can get special glasses, or Mass said they can create a little pinhole camera and project the sun’s image on a piece of paper.

More coverage: Doctor outlines danger for your eyes as solar eclipse approaches

But, he reiterated it “probably won’t be worth the effort here, unfortunately.”

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email her here.

Listen to The Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-7 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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