- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Mostly sunny skies are expected next Monday in Oregon. Except for two minutes.

At a press conference Tuesday about the eclipse that will come to Oregon, one of the rainier U.S. states, before moving across the country, perhaps the most anticipated news came from weather forecaster Tyree Wild of the National Weather Service.

He predicted good weather on eclipse day, but said patchy clouds might appear, especially along the coast.

“We really see no major weather systems coming our way,” Wild said.

He added that forecasters are keeping an eye on a weather system due to arrive on Aug. 22, the day after the eclipse.

Up to 1 million people are expected to visit Oregon to see the eclipse, a quarter of the state’s normal population.

Officials have been preparing for worst-case scenarios - roads jammed with traffic, cell-phone services disrupted with people unable to call for help, wildfires breaking out - with law enforcement, firefighters, ambulance services and other first-responders beefing up staffing.

The Oregon National Guard is also ready to help deal with the influx. Traffic could be the heaviest in the state’s history, officials said.

Authorities, who have used response drills for a massive earthquake as a template for eclipse readiness, are hoping the worst case scenarios will not happen, like the Y2K computer bug that was projected to set off chaos at the beginning of the year 2000 but ended up causing few problems.

“We are working together diligently,” Brown said. “So we are hoping that folks use common sense as we move forward, that people will have a great time for the 2017 solar eclipse, particularly in the path of totality, and that everyone stays safe.”

The eclipse will last only about two minutes in the total eclipse belt that includes Oregon, but visitors will start arriving days earlier. Tourism boosters hope they stick around for a while.

August is peak fire season in Oregon, and a forestry official said there have been more than 400 fires to date, including some in the total eclipse belt. Rains earlier this week helped clear the smoky skies that have limited visibility in many parts of the state, Wild said.


Andrew Selsky is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky

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