Clouds, rain expected to blot out total eclipse of the moon over Pittsburgh region

A slowly moving cold front could bring slushy snow tomorrow


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The beautiful spring weather enjoyed over the weekend in southwestern Pennsylvania apparently won't stick around long enough to bring clear skies early Tuesday morning for a long-awaited total eclipse of the moon.

"A cold front coming through late tonight is pushing clouds into the Pittsburgh area and eventually rainfall. The rain will be here for late afternoon and into the overnight, accompanied by some gusty winds," said Dennis Bowman, meteorologist at KDKA-TV, the PG's news partner.

"It does appear that overall viewing for the lunar eclipse early Tuesday morning will be poor. Bad timing with this approaching cold front," he said.

PG graphic: Total lunar eclipse
(Click image for larger version)

After a high in the mid 70s today, the cold front will move in and bring plenty of clouds to blot out the eclipse. But the cold air also will bring a chance of rain, thunderstorms and (gasp!) snow Tuesday. Little or no snow accumulation is expected, the National Weather Service said.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is full and passes into the Earth's shadow. This eclipse, the first fully visible over the region since 2010, begins with the partial phase at 1:58 a.m. Totality lasts from 3:07 to 4:25 a.m. The eclipsed moon will seem to lie very close to the star Spica in Virgo with the red planet Mars shining brilliantly in the vicinity.

Still like to watch the eclipse? Beside heading west to, say, Missouri or Kansas for clearer skies, there are sites on the Internet that promise to provide a view -- here are a few:

Columbus State University in Georgia: http://www.ccssc.org/webcast.html

Slooh Community Observatory: http://events.slooh.com/stadium/total-lunar-eclipse-arizona-april-15-2014

Space.com: http://www.space.com/25462-total-lunar-eclipse-blood-moon-complete-coverage.html

The next total eclipse of the moon occurs Oct. 8, but in the Pittsburgh area, the event will happen around moonset, giving residents limited visibility.


Pete Zapadka: pzapadka@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1857 or on Twitter @pzapadka.

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