Weather for the Total Solar Eclipse

Typical August 21st Weather (WPDE Graphic)

The weather can make or break your eclipse experience. While it’s way too early to know exactly what the weather will be like, it is late summer and we do have plenty of historical data so the two combined give us a good idea of what to expect.

In late August, it’s pretty much a given it will be hot and humid. Normal high temperatures are around 90º in Florence and near 86º in Myrtle Beach. With the high humidity, heat index values are typically around 100º. Almost every summer afternoon, clouds start to bubble up during the morning and eventually lead to a few afternoon thunderstorms. Most of the thundestorms have a tendency to develop along the sea breeze near the coast and along a trough west of I-95.

For the Grand Strand, the sea breeze usually develops during the early afternoon and pushes inland leaving the beaches mostly sunny for the middle and latter part of the afternoon. Given maximum eclipse in Myrtle Beach occurs around 2:45pm, a “normal” summer day would be just fine for viewing the eclipse. Historical records for August 21st show the sky in Myrtle Beach is sunny, mostly sunny or partly sunny 82% of the time. That’s very favorable for eclipse viewing!

For inland communities, the sea breeze typically doesn’t make it too far west of Conway on most days so there will likely be some clouds and perhaps even a few storms during maximum eclipse. That doesn’t mean your view will be totally obscured. In fact, based on 60 years of historical data, Florence and Lumberton have roughly a 70% chance of favorable sky conditions (sunny, mostly sunny or partly sunny) during maximum eclipse.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. What if it’s completely overcast? Obviously, that would prevent you from seeing all the cool stuff happening on and around the sun’s disk, but it will still get dark! In fact, where totality occurs from Kingstree to Andrews to Pawleys Island and points south, it will get pitch black to the point it would be hard to walk around!

What about tropical systems? On August 21st, we’re less than three weeks from the historical peak of the hurricane season so there’s typically activity in the Atlantic ocean. Even with the peak that close, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University, since 1851, NO tropical storm or hurricane has been within 50 miles of Myrtle Beach on August 21. In fact, only 9 tropical storms and hurricanes have been within 50 miles of Myrtle Beach in all of August. I like our odds of no tropical interruptions!

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