Solar eclipse travel forecast: Storms may cause delays in southern, eastern US


Overall, few travel problems are anticipated this weekend for those traveling in hopes to see the best view of Monday's total solar eclipse. However, there will be some trouble spots related to summer storms.

In most cases, the summertime thunderstorms anticipated will be more of a nuisance, rather than a major deterrent. Even sporadic storms can slow motorists down and lead to airline delays.

Most of the storms throughout the nation will occur between 2 and 10 p.m., local time, but there will be some exceptions.

Static Saturday Plain Language US


There is a chance of early-morning fog and low clouds at any location that receives rain during the afternoon or evening the day before.

Stormy pattern to resume in southeastern US

The greatest concentration of thunderstorms will be in the Southeastern states, and they can occur both days of the weekend.

"Showers and storms from the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast states are most likely to be troublesome for ground and air travel," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.

Storms in this area may also tend to be the most disruptive since they can be heavy enough to cause localized street and highway flooding, in addition to brief poor visibility.

Southern cities at risk for airline disruptions related to thunderstorms include Atlanta; New Orleans; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Orlando, Florida.

The greatest concentration of downpours will be along Interstate 10 and I-95.

A small number of storms in the Southeast may bubble up in or linger through the late-night and morning hours.

Thunderstorms may affect some major central and northeastern US hubs on Saturday

As a storm moves from the Plains to the Mississippi Valley, a few storms are likely to erupt from Wisconsin and Michigan to Tennessee on Saturday.

"A thunderstorm could effect the major hubs of Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis on Saturday," Pydynowski said.

A separate storm system will drift toward the Interstate-95 corridor of the Northeast on Saturday.

"Showers and thunderstorms may affect metro areas such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia," Pydynowski said.

Any of these locations and others in the Midwest and Northeast will be at risk for a torrential downpour that can lead to isolated urban flooding and brief wind gusts.

On Sunday, areas from Chicago and Detroit to St. Louis are likely to dry out, as is the I-95 corridor in the Northeast.

Static Sunday US PL


A few spotty storms may affect areas from western New York to eastern Tennessee on Sunday.

Few storms to bubble up over interior Southwest

Storms will also riddle the interior Southwest with the most coverage likely over Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah both days of the weekend.

"When compared to storms in the Southeast, the storms in the Southwest will be much more widely separated in nature," Pydynowski said. "Problems around Denver are likely to be minimal, if any at all."

Most of the storms in the Southwest tend to bring little rainfall. On occasion, even distant storms can cause highly localized flash flooding.

It is possible that early morning low clouds and fog may lead to airline delays in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle on one or both days of the weekend.

Storms to avoid northwestern US

Some of the best travel weather compared to the rest of the nation may be in the Northwest this weekend.

Most of the region will be free of rain.

Motorists should check their route as there are some large wildfires burning in the region and in the Southwest. Inciweb will have the most up-to-date fire information for the entire United States, including maps.

In the vicinity of fires, smoke could significantly reduce the visibility with little notice.

When in doubt, stick to the major highways as long as possible. The major highways will receive the most attention in terms of firefighting efforts.

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