June 13th, 2024

Solar eclipse forecast: here’s where to find the best view of totality in Canada

By Jordan Omstead, The Canadian Press on April 7, 2024.

A total solar eclipse is set to cross through parts of Canada on Monday, offering crowds in its path a dazzling view of the astronomical wonder.

That is, if clouds don’t get in the way.

Some popular viewing spots in the eclipse’s path of totality could be under cloud cover, while areas in Quebec and the Maritimes are shaping up for good views.

While forecasts are subject to change and meteorologists urge eclipse chasers to check local conditions ahead of the big moment, here’s how the cloud cover is shaping up for Monday along the solar eclipse’s path of totality.

Ontario

Clear skies may be hard to come by in Ontario, but some areas are forecasted to fare better than others, said Sean Akiyama, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

In an interview on Sunday, he said the best views are likely to come on the “extreme ends” of the total solar eclipse’s path through Ontario, the province’s most southwestern and eastern edges.

Southwestern Ontario, including Point Pelee National Park, are forecasted to see a mix of sun and cloud. But moving into the Hamilton-Niagara region and Toronto, the conditions get worse.

The forecast shows a thick blanket of cloud in the area, said Akiyama. While a break in that cloud cover is possible, he said it would be “pretty hard” to find a clear view.

The forecast east of Toronto, along the northern shores of Lake Ontario, does not look much better. Akiyama said it shows mainly cloudy skies for those areas and into Kingston.

“East of Brockville might be your best bet that way,” he said.

Quebec

Eclipse watchers in Quebec are expected to be luckier than their neighbours to the west, said Montreal-based Environment Canada meteorologist Dominic Martel.

“We have some clear sky conditions everywhere along the path of the total eclipse, and even the partial eclipse on the periphery of the path,” he said in an interview on Sunday.

Martel said modelling in recent days has consistently shown a big high-pressure ridge sitting over the province, adding to his confidence in the forecast.

“The only uncertainty,” he said, is how quickly the clouds in Ontario move into southern Quebec.

He said the forecast shows cloud cover arriving in Montreal around 6 p.m. The city is expected to experience totality just before 3:30 p.m. and be out of the eclipse’s path entirely by around 4:30 p.m.

“If those clouds move a little quicker, they might show up near the end of the eclipse,” he said. “But I highly doubt it.”

Newfoundland and Labrador

A low-pressure system looming over Newfoundland and Labrador could cloud the view for some eclipse watchers on the island, Martel said.

The best spots are expected to be on the southern shores and right near the middle of the island, he said. But Martel said the western shores around Stephenville and the eastern areas around Clarenville are expected to see cloudy conditions.

Gander, he said, is “really on the edge of the clouds.”

“Maybe they’ll get lucky.”

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New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, N.S.

Martel said the total solar eclipse’s path is expected to traverse mostly clear skies through New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, the tip of Cape Breton and into the Quebec archipelago of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine.

The same low-pressure system hanging over Newfoundland had generated some uncertainty earlier in the week for the Maritimes’ forecast. But it was expected to move far enough off the coast in time for Monday, Martel said.

He said there may be some convective clouds forming in northern parts of P.E.I. and New Brunswick, but they are the types of quicker-moving clouds with lots of holes in them.

“It should just be momentary in terms of the obstruction it could cause, and I don’t think it should be a dealbreaker for anyone in that region,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 7, 2024.

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