Where is the best viewing for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse?

Dear Tom,
What area would provide the best chance for cloudless viewing of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse?
— Michele Ryan, Lemont, and Donald Schlax, Deerfield
Dear Michele and Donald,
Excitement is high in anticipation of the first total solar eclipse visible in the lower 48 states since 1979. The total eclipse will be visible along a path from northern Oregon to South Carolina during the midday period. Chicagoans will see about 87 percent of the sun eclipsed, but a trip downstate between Carbondale and Paducah, Ky., will put viewers in the path of totality. With August’s typical heat and humidity, convective cloudiness could be a problem from the eastern Plains to the Atlantic Coast, with better viewing more likely in the arid West. Statistically, the best odds for cloudless viewing are in southern Idaho where a typical August yields about 80 percent of the possible sunshine.
The total eclipse Aug. 21 will be visible along a path from northern Oregon to South Carolina during the midday period.