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Central Texas has some of the best seats in the country for the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse April 8.

Cloudy eclipse weather got you down? Here's how you can still experience the solar eclipse in Austin.

Jack Cooper fits his dog, Henry, with glasses as a partial eclipse takes place on Oct. 14, 2023.
Deborah Cannon
KUT News
This dog doesn't even know what a solar eclipse is.

You've probably heard grumblings over the last week that the weather forecast for the total solar eclipse — a once-in-a-lifetime event for many in the Austin area — is not looking good.

With the eclipse time approaching fast, the forecast remains poor, with low- and higher-level clouds expected to make eclipse-watching difficult for those hoping to experience totality — the moment when the moon completely blocks out the sun.

Now that we've ripped off that Band-Aid, we can get to the good news: you can still experience some of the best parts of the eclipse even under cloudy skies.

As KUT's Jerry Quijano describes in the video below, there are three things to keep an eye out for on Monday.

First, we'll still be able to experience sudden darkness during the 1 minute and 44 seconds of totality in Austin at 1:36 p.m.

During totality, we'll also still be able to experience a drop in temperature. Last, but not least, it will be a good time to watch animals for weird behavior during totality. Crickets could chirp and owls could hoot.

Let's take a closer look at the forecast

For the Austin area, there may be a few breaks in the lower-level clouds during eclipse time, but even if that were to happen, there would still be clouds higher up that would only allow a very filtered view of the eclipse, according to Jason Runyen, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Austin/San Antonio.

"For those locations that don't see the breaks [in the clouds] it should just remain kind of mostly cloudy to overcast and you won't be able to view the eclipse," Runyen says.

Are you thinking now is a good time to make a last-minute escape to somewhere less cloudy? You may have to travel a long way. How does northern Maine sound to you?

A National Weather Service graphic shows sample photos of the types of clouds we may experience on eclipse day, ranging from translucent high clouds to opaque high clouds or opaque low clouds.
National Weather Service
"Opaque" clouds are not something you want to see in an eclipse day forecast.

Runyen says the whole South/Central Texas region is likely to experience cloudy weather Monday afternoon. The forecast is slightly better for people farther west of Austin in Fredericksburg, Kerrville and along the border in Del Rio and Eagle Pass.

He says people in those areas may see more breaks in the lower-level clouds than we'll experience in Austin, but they'll still have to contend with higher-up clouds.

After the eclipse comes and goes, there is a risk of severe weather Monday, but Runyen says the storms would likely be isolated, meaning they would affect fewer people.

For those traveling from out of town, you'll probably want to keep an eye out for Tuesday's weather. Runyen says the Weather Service has a higher level of confidence we may see some storms into Tuesday night that could produce severe weather.

There's always 2045

If the worst case weather scenario happens on Monday — with thick, high and low clouds in the Austin area — there's always the next total solar eclipse in Texas we can look forward to.

Mark your calendars for Aug. 12, 2045! If, like me, you're currently figuring out how old you'll be — I know. Ouch!

The coast-to-coast total solar eclipse, which some websites have dubbed "The Greatest American Eclipse," will pass over a sliver of the Texas Panhandle — a breezy, 8-hour drive from Austin. It will also give millions of Americans a chance to experience an incredible 6 minutes of totality, compared to the 4 minutes people will experience on Monday in the Texas Hill Country.

And if that's not tempting enough, consider this: the path of totality will also travel over the most magical place on Earth, Disney World.

Andy Jechow is the audience engagement editor for KUT News. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter at @AndyJechow.
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