The National Weather Service in Paducah says it’s likely going to be sunny and hot on August 21 on the day a total solar eclipse crosses the U.S. and will be at the point of greatest eclipse in the region.
Meteorologist Rick Shanklin said statistically about 15 to 25 percent of August 21 days have had some rain, but primarily not until the late afternoon and evening hours. There has been an occasionally cloudy cooler day, he said, but that's been an exception.
“Most years it is sunny or mostly sunny, especially during the middle part of the day when the eclipse would occur. We typically have cloud development through the early and mid afternoon," he said.
Shanklin said it's too soon to know for sure and that accuracy goes up within four to seven days in advance. Closer to the event, NWS will have a better idea of what the weather pattern will look like, he said.
It's also "a pretty sure bet" that the eclipse will occur during the hottest time of day. It reaches far west Kentucky after 1 p.m. and while the sun will appear covered by the moon for two minutes and 40 seconds, highs are expected to reach 90 degrees.
"Because of the time of the eclipse we will have the maximum heat of the day right during the total eclipse time or very close to it so that definitely is our greatest or most likely concern weather-wise is the heat and humidity," Shanklin said.
Shanklin said this is a point of concern given the number of people coming to the region who might not have experience in the heat.
The NOAA will be staffing normal operations in the Paducah office and will be on site at three locations along the path of totality: southern Illinois, Eddyville and near Hopkinsville. There will also be staffing in the Frankfort office. Shanklin said the office will conduct detailed analysis of weather in those areas.
"Obviously you have that many people outside we're going to have to really look at any - if we have any thunderstorms moving into the area or even a 30-mile per hour wind, 30 or 40 mile per hour gust, heavy rain that may not normally be an issue could be an issue in areas where you have large crowds camping near streams."
Shanklin said his office will work to give extra, advanced lead time if any evacuations need to be made anywhere along the path and is working with emergency management and public service agencies.