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August 14, 2017

Shadow forecast: Early look at weather for next Monday's solar eclipse

Clouds and rain are seen in the South, but could move north to Philly – or not

Seeing the partial solar eclipse next Monday in the Philadelphia area is iffy for now, based on early forecasts by the National Weather Service.

Cautioning that seven days out "is at the edge of our forecast time," Lance Frank, a meteorologist in the Mount Holly office, said the forecast is at least figuratively, if not literally, cloudy.

RELATED STORY: All you need to know about the 2017 solar eclipse in Philly

Hemming a bit, Frank said, "The indications now is there is some unsettled weather to the south. The question is how far north that gets? Virginia and south will have some rain and clouds, but the weather system could come north."

He said it would be "irresponsible" to make a certain prediction this far out because water vapor –clouds – are among the most difficult meteorological predictions.

But he added forecasts from Friday on should have a high degree of probability.

Philadelphia is not in the path of eclipse totality even if the clouds cooperate; the nearest state is South Carolina. The eclipse will first become visible in Oregon.

The Charleston newspaper reports that a million people are expected to visit South Carolina for the eclipse. Airbnb rooms are commanding prices of as much as $1,000 out west. The total eclipse will occur in Charleston at 2:48 p.m. ET, according to NASA.

The last time a total eclipse was visible in the United States was 1979.