Sky-watching weather in parts of Los Angeles is expected to be less than ideal. A cutoff low weather system is working to eclipse the historic eclipse today by bringing low clouds to the coast.
"There will be better viewing the further inland you go," says Stuart Seto, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "Around 10:20 a.m., when it peaks, you'll be able to see it inland if you're there. But the coast will not be a good area."
The cutoff low could even encourage thunderstorms and "surprise showers" in some areas of Southern California, tweeted Daniel Swain, a UCLA climate scientist who runs the California Weather Blog. The National Weather Service states in a forecast discussion that "drizzle cannot be ruled out for the Southland early next week as the marine layer depth will likely deepen substantially between Monday and Wednesday."
Seto says even viewing the eclipse from downtown Los Angeles is iffy. While the marine lawyer normally burns off by late morning, it's not clear if this June gloom–style pattern will have sticking power throughout the basin. "It's going to be close," he says. "The timing is going to be the big thing."
Los Angeles will enjoy below-normal high temperatures near 80 in the basin and in the low 70s at the beach, Seto says. Strong, 2- to 4-foot surf and higher-than-normal tides have inspired a beach hazards statement that expires Monday, he said.
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The cool weather will remain until Thursday when a slight heat increase was expected, according to the weather service.
In the meantime, experts have come out of the woodwork to offer up eclipse-watching tips. Chief among them is the California Highway Patrol's advice not to "let excitement eclipse safety." "If you're driving, exit the highway to a safe location to view or photograph the eclipse," according to a statement that could be particularly important if Angelenos are chasing the sun inland.
The Auto Club of Southern California seconded that emotion, noting that two-thirds of Americans live with at most a daylong drive to the "eclipse zone," where the phenomenon is expected to be within view. Anita Lorz Villagrana, manager of the AAA's traffic safety department, warned of eclipse-inspired traffic jams. "Even in Southern California, we are expected to see about 75 percent of the eclipse, which may cause people to park where they usually might not be expected to park," she said in a statement.
A cannabis trade association called the Marijuana Industry Group, meanwhile, is warning folks in marijuana-legal states like California and Colorado not to take weed across state lines, lest law enforcement harsh your sky-watching mellow. The group started a campaign titled "Keep It Here."