Total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 - predictions

Discussion in 'Sky photography' started by Dan Robinson, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. Clarence Bennett

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  2. Elaine Spencer

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    OK, I'm pondering where we (husband, daughter and I) ought to go to view the eclipse. We live within what is, under normal conditions, a 2-3 hour drive from the closest points along the totality path (roughly from COU to MDH). We should, at least in theory, be able to leave home before sunrise (4-5 a.m.), get to the path in plenty of time to get situated, see the eclipse, and be home by dinnertime. However, these are not likely to be "normal" conditions if tens or hundreds of thousands of people are streaming into the totality path and clogging major interstates such as I-55 and I-70. I don't even want to think about what traffic conditions in and around STL will be like. Plus, we'd prefer a less crowded viewing venue outside of the major cities where all the bus tours and hardcore eclipse buffs are headed.

    With that in mind, I am currently contemplating two possible broad target areas that seem to be a bit "off the beaten path" but still close to the centerline: Monroe, Randolph and NW Jackson counties in IL, including the towns of Waterloo, Kaskaskia and Pinckneyville (but NOT Carbondale, which is sure to be a zoo); or Callaway, Montgomery, Warren, Franklin and Gasconade counties in MO (including Fulton and Hermann). Obviously, the closer to the centerline the better, but I'll be happy with any location that gets at least 2 minutes of totality. What are the non-interstate road conditions like in these areas, and how quickly would we be able to move from these locations if necessary due to cloud cover?
     
  3. Brian G

    Brian G Member

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    Tough call. There are a lot of winding roads in these off-the-beaten-path areas. There are limited river crossings over the Missouri, Mississippi, and Meramec Rivers so that's something to keep in mind. Honestly, my initial thought was Hermann, MO as well. For me that's easy because I already live along Hwy. 94 in St. Charles. And I agree with you regarding the concern about the traffic on the interstates. I could see MO-94, MO-100, US-50, and US-67 being problematic as well especially on the east side of the eclipse path towards the STL metro area. The best advice, which it sounds like you don't need, is leave early and get to the centerline. At least you'll be in the path of totality and won't miss out even if you do get stuck in a traffic jam. As long as the clouds stay away I'm confident you'll get a show. I'm less confident about how long it'll take you to get home though :)
     
  4. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    The Illinois side is flatter and has an abundance of county roads to help spread out the crowds and get you in and out with fewer bottlenecks. I'm planning on somewhere south of Sparta, IL away from main highways, possibly farther south if traffic allows (Chester if somehow there are no crowds). The Missouri side is hilly (aside from the Mississippi River floodplain), has more trees, less roads and less through-routes to get in and out. More importantly, most of the roads on the Missouri side are winding two-lane blacktop without adequate shoulders for parking. On the Illinois side, with few exceptions it's possible to take secondary county roads all the way south from I-70/I-64 and avoid all of the state highways and interstates, and parking anywhere on the side of the road is more realistic.

    For instance, this is a possible route south to the center of totality from my place that takes the "back roads" all the way to Chester, aside from the one bridge across the Kaskaskia River near New Memphis. And there are countless other routes available, too.

    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/38....0x887635eb9b870f97:0xab8df33f7d4fad6b!1m0!3e0
     
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    #54 Dan Robinson, Mar 18, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  5. Elaine Spencer

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    Thanks Dan! With that in mind, I've booked a hotel room for the night before in Salem IL, to shorten our trip to the path by a couple of hours. (Was hoping for Mt. Vernon but they are getting booked up even though they are not quite in the path.) It looks like we could head south or west of there on any road and be well within the path in a couple of hours.
     
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  6. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    Now would be a good time to pick up eclipse viewing glasses, Amazon has 5 and 10 packs for less than 20 bucks.
     
  7. Marc R. O'Leary

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    Ran across this today. For you in MO, this seems like a neat opportunity. It would appear they are right near the path of totality (Boonville, MO), and for $50, getting free guaranteed parking , glasses and a couple beers seems like a damn good deal compared to trying to find a roadside spot not socked in. And after the show, go see giant horses. Sounds like a win win to me, just wrong state for me.

    https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/4200393/solar-eclipse-party-boonville-warm-springs-ranch
     
  8. Elaine Spencer

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    Here are some fascinating maps I found regarding projected traffic flow into (and out of) the eclipse path.

    https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/statistics/

    These maps break down all the interstates and major highways into "drivesheds" channeling traffic flow to particular points along the path (in the same manner a watershed drains all precipitation and stream flow into a particular body of water).

    According to the map creator's projections, the worst congestion on eclipse day will likely occur in South Carolina, the closest/quickest state to reach along the path of totality for just about everyone on the East Coast. As many as 2.2 million people could flood into SC for the occasion. In second place is Tennessee, which may draw more than 1.4 million visitors from upstate NY, PA, OH and WV as well as from the New Orleans area. In third place is Missouri, which may draw up to 1.2 million visitors from northern and central IL including CHI, as well as from MN, IA, WI and upper MI. Fourth is Oregon, which may get over 600,000 visitors from the West Coast (I bet they get way more than that, if everyone in California suddenly decides to drop in at the last minute). I'm surprised at how far down the list Illinois is; the assumption seems to be that Chicago area folks who decide to go on the spur of the moment will take I-55 to STL rather than take I-57 to Southern IL.
     
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  9. JamesCaruso

    JamesCaruso Member

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    As usual, I have procrastinated on plans for this but would like to take my family to a good spot to see it. I am thinking about the Nebraska panhandle, as it would be less populated/crowded and provide a rare opportunity to show my wife and kids a part of the country that I love as part of storm chasing but that they may never have a chance to see (well, maybe my kids if they chase with me when they are older, but my wife is never going to do that... ) I am thinking it would be nice to fly into Omaha and make the drive west, maybe go out of the way to go through Valentine which is a town I happen to like (and haven't been through in many years). But this is just based on a quick glance at the totality map and gravitating towards a place that is less populated and also somewhat familiar to me. For those of you that have studied and planned this more seriously, what do you think about the Nebraska panhandle as a viewing spot? Is any spot in the path of totality better than any other with respect to viewing? Are there any variables to worry about other than crowds? How much of a concern is terrain? I mean you don't really need to see the horizon like with storms do you? What about cities vs rural considerations? I would think that cities would not only be more crowded, but also lights would go on, somewhat taking away from the impact right? Thanks all for your thoughts.


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