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Solar eclipse weather: Good for California, Southwest; cloudy elsewhere

May 20, 2012 |  7:00 am

The weather forecast looks good for Los Angeles, most of California, and the rest of the U.S. Southwest for Sunday's solar eclipse. But clouds threaten the view in much of Asia and the U.S. Northwest, South and Midwest.

EclipseIn Southern California, most inland areas a few miles from the coast should have a clear viewing of the partial eclipse, but there is a 10% to 20% chance of stray clouds along the beaches, said National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Sirard. He said if clouds are blocking western and northwest skies around 4 p.m., head inland for a few miles for clearer weather in time for the eclipse, which begins in L.A. around 5:24 p.m. and hits its maximum shadow at 6:38 p.m.

The news was similarly splendid in Albuquerque, N.M., which has turned into a mecca for eclipse fans. New Mexico's largest city lies right in the center of the "ring" eclipse's path, offering a perfect view near sunset, accompanied by a climate that scares off clouds.

"All systems go," Griffith Observatory director Ed Krupp e-mailed The Times from Albuquerque. "All of New Mexico seems to be alert for the state's felicitious eclipse location."

The mood was more dour along the Californian coast near the Oregon border, where the weather service warned, "increasing clouds may dim or completely obscure the eclipse," particularly along the Redwood coast. Viewers were urged to head inland.

Clouds were expected to be a problem in Oregon and Washington State, the South and Midwest, AccuWeather.com warned. And monsoonal conditions in Hong Kong, southern China, Taiwan and Japan could make for dicey conditions when the eclipse begins with sunrise in Asia.

Check out this NASA Google map to find what time the eclipse will come to your neighborhood. Pacific time locations affected by the eclipse.

Tweet your plans and photos to @latimes or @lanow with the hashtag #LATeclipse, or share your eclipse experience on our Facebook page. Let us know how your vantage point is. We'll be compiling the best reader moments from the evening.


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Photo: Schoolchildren in Amman, Jordan's capital, watch a partial solar eclipse on Jan. 4, 2011. Credit: Ali Jarekji / Reuters

Photo: An annular solar eclipse seen over Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, on Jan. 15, 2010. Credit: Eranga Jayawardena / Associated Press