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Total Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024 weather prospects

Meteorologist Jay Anderson has released his weather prospects for the total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024:


Good for planning, or just for interesting reading.

Weather prospects aren’t the only factor that should be used in choosing an eclipse viewing region, but it’s a good place to start.
 
I'm in southern Illinois. As you might now, we had a great view of it last time. I was in the Shawnee National Forest where there was no cloud coverage at all.

Hoping to be able to be in that situation again this next time!
 
@Mark Egan thanks for posting this. After I had my first-ever experience of totality (near Torrington WY) in 2017, I knew I wanted to see the 2024 eclipse and be better prepared for it (mainly by making hotel reservations before all the rooms in the path of totality get taken up). At the time, 7 years seemed so far away, and now it’s almost impossible to believe we are more than halfway there! Thanks for the reminder that it’s time to start planning. As I look at the path and all of the options, it’s obvious that climatological considerations are huge. Of course, anything can happen, but picking a general area with the best climatological probabilities for clear skies is about all we can do. I haven’t read the article yet, but I am sure it will be a big help. I will probability make hotel reservations in a few areas, I can always cancel a few days ahead of time if needed. Other considerations for me are staying away from large metropolitan areas, and choosing a part of the country that I haven’t seen before or that I want my family to experience. Not intending to make more than a few days‘ trip out of it, given that I (hopefully) will be using the vacation time for storm chasing the very next month, and the kids are still in school in April anyway.
 
@JamesCaruso What do you know? I was close to the centerline north of Torrington! I had chosen that area because climate data suggested that skies were typically clear there in mid to late August, it had a good road network going east and west along the totality path, and it was a short drive away from the Rocky Mountains (I went on a beautiful 10 mile hike in RMNP several days before the eclipse)

Since I live in the totality path for 2024, there’s no reason to fly or drive somewhere (other than perhaps getting a bit closer to the centerline or needing to escape from clouds)

Jay Anderson is very good and detailed at what he does (you’ll see that when you read this guide). I’m hoping he’s teaching someone his skills to take over when he retires!
 
The only meteorological concerns you can address at this point aren't meteorological - they are climatological. We won't have a good idea of the sky cover until a week or so before the eclipse at best, and a few hours beforehand at worst.

No matter where you choose to setup for this, you need to have several backup plans in case clouds interrupt your primary spot. Give yourself a few hours to adjust as C2 approaches.
 
Now to look at the corona, through a bottle of corona, with a mask to protect you from corona…that and watch for those fake mass produced glasses…or so I heard tell.
 
Just want to put this up on people's radar again.
Eclipse is about 10 months away.

Interactive map of path of totality:

We will be in Daylight Savings Time on April 8.

Book hotels soon. They've learned from the 2017 eclipse.
$649 Waco TX Econolodge 4/7-4/9
$68 Waco TX Econolodge 4/14-4/16

$796 Quality Inn and Suites downtown Evansville 4/7-4/9
$68 Quality Inn and Suites downtown Evansville 4/14-4/16

$844 Comfort Inn and Suites North Little Rock McCain Mall 4/7-4/9
$109 Comfort Inn and Suites North Little Rock McCain Mall 4/14-4/16.

Not all are this extreme, but many are, and many are already sold out.

Mark, my brother and I were about 200 yards south of the centerline on 85 north of Lingle. Amazing experience.

Sean
 
Making eclipse plans has been on my to-do list for a long time, but I procrastinated anyway. Finally booked hotel rooms last night.

Booked in three different places. Yeah I’ll end up wasting some money but this is a once in a lifetime thing (well, twice in a lifetime, since I saw totality in 2017…) Plan is to fly into Dallas on April 6th and stay there. Then on the 7th I have the room in Dallas, as well as one to the northeast in AR and to the SW in TX. If the weather forecast is clear cut, I’ll reposition on the 7th. If it’s uncertain, I’ll stay in Dallas on the 7th and reposition on the morning of the 8th (not ideal because of traffic). Or maybe it will turn out there are clear skies near Dallas and I don’t have to drive too far (but do want to get away from the urban areas; maybe go up into southeast OK).

Still seem to be plenty of hotel rooms in TX, but Little Rock and Hot Springs AR seem to be pretty much sold out! If you want to do this, don’t delay!

Also, order your eclipse glasses! In 2017 there were counterfeit products being sold on Amazon that could damage your eyes. The American Astronomical Society has a list of reputable vendors here:

 
I thought about making plans for this, but decided to focus my efforts for the one in 2027, as that has a much longer length of totality.... plus a vacation to Morocco will help ease the pain of possible cloud cover, lol. Still might look at taking an overnight trip to NW NY if the weather cooperates. Everyone's reports here on this forum of the event in 2017 has peaked my interest more than I would've expected, and now have made it a priority to see one in my lifetime.
 
I thought about making plans for this, but decided to focus my efforts for the one in 2027, as that has a much longer length of totality.... plus a vacation to Morocco will help ease the pain of possible cloud cover, lol. Still might look at taking an overnight trip to NW NY if the weather cooperates. Everyone's reports here on this forum of the event in 2017 has peaked my interest more than I would've expected, and now have made it a priority to see one in my lifetime.

I can tell you, the solar eclipse in 2017 was one of the most awe-inspiring and magical moments of my life. I definitely recommend it. Seeing one in the US is definitely easier and cheaper than Morocco!
 
Making eclipse plans has been on my to-do list for a long time, but I procrastinated anyway. Finally booked hotel rooms last night.

Booked in three different places. Yeah I’ll end up wasting some money but this is a once in a lifetime thing (well, twice in a lifetime, since I saw totality in 2017…) Plan is to fly into Dallas on April 6th and stay there. Then on the 7th I have the room in Dallas, as well as one to the northeast in AR and to the SW in TX. If the weather forecast is clear cut, I’ll reposition on the 7th. If it’s uncertain, I’ll stay in Dallas on the 7th and reposition on the morning of the 8th (not ideal because of traffic). Or maybe it will turn out there are clear skies near Dallas and I don’t have to drive too far (but do want to get away from the urban areas; maybe go up into southeast OK).

Still seem to be plenty of hotel rooms in TX, but Little Rock and Hot Springs AR seem to be pretty much sold out! If you want to do this, don’t delay!

I'm beyond surprised you were able to find rooms anywhere near the path of totality. I reserved a hotel room in the San Antonio area in April and even back then there was next to nothing left (unless you were willing to spend $500+).
 
Had the opportunity to see a full eclipse in 1979 and never forgot how eerily awesome it was. I probably won’t have to move much for the next one either. If anyone wonders if it’s worth the effort to get in position, you’ll never forget it. The only one I saw was long time ago and it’s burned into my memory.
 
I thought about making plans for this, but decided to focus my efforts for the one in 2027, as that has a much longer length of totality.... plus a vacation to Morocco will help ease the pain of possible cloud cover, lol.
Don't wait until 2027. I went to Columbia, SC for the 2017 eclipse, and it was an incredible, unforgettable experience, even though totality only lasted 2 1/2 minutes. Totality next year will be much longer -- up to 4 minutes, 27 seconds.
 
@Jeff Lieberman - Everyone's points are well taken, and I'd love to see next year's event, but my vacation for 2024 is already set. Even if I could get someone to swap vacation days, I also have a Caribbean vacation tentatively set for 2 weeks prior to the eclipse which coincides with my wife's birthday, so that's probably a non starter, lol.

My reasoning for 2027 is 2 fold.... The length of totality is something like 8 mins, and I'd be able to appease the "boss" with an exotic vacation to the Mediterranean. Even if the weather doesn't cooperate, we'll still be able to enjoy our time off.

I definitely plan on keeping a close eye on my work schedule and weather leading up to next year. Even though accommodations are likely to be booked solid, I'm not ruling out an overnight trip and sleeping in the car. Best of luck to everyone making plans, and I hope everything works out for ya!
 
The article linked in the original post is a great summary of the cloud situation. I am more concerned about clouds for this eclipse that I was for the 2017 one. With the usual expansive summertime high pressure at mid-latitudes, August was probably at or near the minimum in average cloud cover for the CONUS at midday. But in early April, we'll be more likely to have some portion of a jet overhead which almost always has some form of problematic cloud cover. I think a reposition/backup location(s) for clear skies may be a much more important planning consideration for this one.

As was the case with the 2017 eclipse, my friends, family and coworker circles are largely disinterested in this one and most aren't planning to go see it (even though it is, once again, in our backyard here). So, like 2017, I think a morning-of reposition won't have any traffic issues to contend with.
 
As was the case with the 2017 eclipse, my friends, family and coworker circles are largely disinterested in this one and most aren't planning to go see it (even though it is, once again, in our backyard here). So, like 2017, I think a morning-of reposition won't have any traffic issues to contend with.

On the morning of the eclipse in 2017, I drove from Boulder CO to near Torrington WY, and the traffic was pretty bad. I remember being really stressed out while sitting in traffic on a one lane road in WY. As it happened, I made it on time into the path of totality, but ran out of time to get to the centerline. I am more worried this time, given that the Dallas to Austin area is much more populated. I will reposition on the day before if the forecast is clear cut, Otherwise I will wait until the morning-of, and take my chances (but will leave plenty of extra time).

@Dan Robinson So great to see you back here again!
 
I've secured myself some contact points near the path including a friend near Austin, my house in Norman, a hotel room in Western TN and Family/Friends in Michigan/Ohio that I should be able to nail down a point somewhere along the path of totality easily.

The real question becomes if there is a tornado threat. I already have the QuakeNado, I need an EclipseNado.
 
I've secured myself some contact points near the path including a friend near Austin, my house in Norman, a hotel room in Western TN and Family/Friends in Michigan/Ohio that I should be able to nail down a point somewhere along the path of totality easily.

The real question becomes if there is a tornado threat. I already have the QuakeNado, I need an EclipseNado.
Ben! Good to see ya man! Eclipse nado/supercell would be an incredible feat. Im hopeful we at least see a midday lightning shot from someone in totality. I am unfortunately scheduled to teach a class that morning until 11:15 but I may drive down I-35 to get near totality in southeast OK if there's time.
 
On the morning of the eclipse in 2017, I drove from Boulder CO to near Torrington WY, and the traffic was pretty bad. I remember being really stressed out while sitting in traffic on a one lane road in WY.

Thanks James! Traffic here was non-existent before the eclipse, but there were a lot of big jams afterward from everyone leaving at the same time. Thankfully the county road grid here in Illinois is pretty good, and I was able to bypass the jams which were mostly on the main highways.
 
Eclipse nado/supercell would be an incredible feat.

I went to see the 2017 eclipse in SW Illinois (Steeleville) and on the way back to Springfield, we did run into a thunderstorm that, to me, briefly looked like it was rotating, and thought how wild would it be to see a total solar eclipse AND a tornado on the same day...

I just realized a few days ago that I had almost totally forgotten about this event, due to preoccupation with other stuff.... the path of totality is within about a 2-3 hour drive from Springfield so we may just go down the morning of, or get a room for Sunday night outside the path but close enough to cut our drive time down to an hour or so.

Possibly silly "is it just me" question: does it seem like there's less public interest/excitement in this eclipse? Are people maybe distracted by economic concerns or the upcoming election or a general sense of crisis/malaise? I myself have had a hard time being as enthusiastic about this one as I did last time. Or is it the time of year, since it's not vacation season and the school year isn't over fewer people are making eclipse travel plans.
 
Eclipse nado/supercell would be an incredible feat.

Possibly silly "is it just me" question: does it seem like there's less public interest/excitement in this eclipse? Are people maybe distracted by economic concerns or the upcoming election or a general sense of crisis/malaise? I myself have had a hard time being as enthusiastic about this one as I did last time. Or is it the time of year, since it's not vacation season and the school year isn't over fewer people are making eclipse travel plans.

Since I'll be in S/C Texas for this, I am hopeful there is some degree of afternoon convective threat. A supercell following a total solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I haven't heard anything on mainstream news about the eclipse yet. I can't remember if the 2017 eclipse was widely advertised in the media either. Perhaps the 2017 did garner more attention because the path literally crossed the CONUS from Pacific to Atlantic Coast, whereas this one will only "cut across" the central part of the country, and thus won't be dubbed "The Great American Eclipse" like the 2017 one was.

If there turns out to be less public interest, then good. I do have worries about the crowds making the experience less enjoyable. I'm hopeful that the path of totality covering parts of San Antonio proper will keep most of the city from "evacuating" to the NW to see it, as I plan to do. I heard horror stories about people leaving the Denver area in for the 2017 eclipse and how bad some rural highways were up in Wyoming. I don't want to have to deal with that in Texas.
 
Fortunately, I don't live far from the path of totality, so I won't have to go far. I suspect that there's going to be a lot of people out of Indy, Fort Wayne, Dayton, and Toledo converging on the path though. Places like Muncie, IN and Celina, OH are probably going to get crowded. It might be the proximity, but I have seen some talk about it in local media, primarily on the local radio stations. I've not seen anything about it on national level media though.
 
Possibly silly "is it just me" question: does it seem like there's less public interest/excitement in this eclipse? Are people maybe distracted by economic concerns or the upcoming election or a general sense of crisis/malaise? I myself have had a hard time being as enthusiastic about this one as I did last time. Or is it the time of year, since it's not vacation season and the school year isn't over fewer people are making eclipse travel plans.

I haven't heard anything on mainstream news about the eclipse yet. I can't remember if the 2017 eclipse was widely advertised in the media either. Perhaps the 2017 did garner more attention because the path literally crossed the CONUS from Pacific to Atlantic Coast, whereas this one will only "cut across" the central part of the country, and thus won't be dubbed "The Great American Eclipse" like the 2017 one was.

If there turns out to be less public interest, then good. I do have worries about the crowds making the experience less enjoyable. I'm hopeful that the path of totality covering parts of San Antonio proper will keep most of the city from "evacuating" to the NW to see it, as I plan to do. I heard horror stories about people leaving the Denver area in for the 2017 eclipse and how bad some rural highways were up in Wyoming. I don't want to have to deal with that in Texas.

I feel like there is less awareness / publicity this time, but it‘s hard to remember too much about last time. If there is in fact less mainstream publicity about it this time, I think you both offer good insights as to why that may be the case. Another reason could simply be that it’s only 7 years since the last one, whereas the 2017 eclipse was (I think) the first total solar eclipse in the US in many years, maybe even in my lifetime?

For what it’s worth, there was a prominent display of a “Great 2024 Eclipse” magazine at the grocery store, complete with eclipse glasses, and we are not even in the path here in southeast PA. I remember thinking, oh boy, here we go, now the crowds will be out in force. I looked for hotels in Little Rock Arkansas back in July, and they were already booked, so I got one in Arkadelphia AR and also a couple different spots in TX, where there was no shortage of availability at that time. I was worried about being so close to metro areas like Dallas and Austin, but to Jeff’s point maybe that keeps people in the cities, close to home, and not out on the rural roads like I experienced driving to Wyoming from Boulder on the morning of the 2017 eclipse. I got stuck in traffic and thought I would be too late to get in the path of totality. We made it, but not to the centerline. Although I probably should have just keep going - it wouldn’t have been a big deal to miss the earlier stages of the partial eclipse. But at the time, I wanted to be in place at the very start.
 
I feel like there is less awareness / publicity this time, but it‘s hard to remember too much about last time. If there is in fact less mainstream publicity about it this time, I think you both offer good insights as to why that may be the case. Another reason could simply be that it’s only 7 years since the last one, whereas the 2017 eclipse was (I think) the first total solar eclipse in the US in many years, maybe even in my lifetime?

For what it’s worth, there was a prominent display of a “Great 2024 Eclipse” magazine at the grocery store, complete with eclipse glasses, and we are not even in the path here in southeast PA. I remember thinking, oh boy, here we go, now the crowds will be out in force. I looked for hotels in Little Rock Arkansas back in July, and they were already booked, so I got one in Arkadelphia AR and also a couple different spots in TX, where there was no shortage of availability at that time. I was worried about being so close to metro areas like Dallas and Austin, but to Jeff’s point maybe that keeps people in the cities, close to home, and not out on the rural roads like I experienced driving to Wyoming from Boulder on the morning of the 2017 eclipse. I got stuck in traffic and thought I would be too late to get in the path of totality. We made it, but not to the centerline. Although I probably should have just keep going - it wouldn’t have been a big deal to miss the earlier stages of the partial eclipse. But at the time, I wanted to be in place at the very start.
Not sure how flexible you are, but i typically head out a few days early to avoid traffic scenarios like the one you described. Heading out a few days early also allows you to adjust the target area quite a bit in case of less than ideal weather. Also, i have converted the back of my 4runner into a sleeping area, so i can sleep basically anywhere and do not have to worry about hotels. Im sure you have considered all of this, however i just wanted to share a few of the things i do.
 
Not sure how flexible you are, but i typically head out a few days early to avoid traffic scenarios like the one you described. Heading out a few days early also allows you to adjust the target area quite a bit in case of less than ideal weather. Also, i have converted the back of my 4runner into a sleeping area, so i can sleep basically anywhere and do not have to worry about hotels. Im sure you have considered all of this, however i just wanted to share a few of the things i do.

Thanks. I am sort of doing that already. The problem with heading out too early is the increased uncertainty about cloud cover. Right now my plan is to land in Dallas on Saturday. Then on Sunday, make a decision whether to head north to my Arkadelphia hotel, south to my Austin hotel, or stay put in Dallas. If I decide to stay put in Dallas it will either be because the weather forecast is favorable enough there, OR because there is too much uncertainty to commit north or south - in which case I will re-evaluate Monday morning and will end up driving on the “day of” again. But at least the road networks in those areas should be less likely to bottleneck than in Wyoming.

As far as sleeping in my vehicle (which will be a rental), that’s not going to work for a family of 5! 😃
 
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