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  • Writer's pictureMeteorologist Beth Carpenter

Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Forecast

The highly-anticipated 2024 Total Solar Eclipse is finally upon us! Tomorrow, Monday April 8, 2024, fifteen U.S states will experience this once-in-a-lifetime event.

 

What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

During a total solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and the Earth and completely block’s the sun’s view. Based on the rotation of the earth, the earth’s axial tilt, the distance between the moon and the Earth, and time of day this occurs, a the moon’s shadow forms a “path of totality” where complete darkness occurs even in the middle of the day.



The 2024 Total Solar Eclipse is even rarer than most because it has one of the longest and widest paths of totality that crosses a landmass. The eclipse will begin in Mexico around 2:00pm EDT and travel northeast across Texas, into the Mississippi Valley, through the Ohio Valley, into the Great Lakes, and exit out of the country from Maine into Canada near 3:30pm EDT.


Roughly 32 million people live within this path of totality and will experience its full effects. However, the entire United States will see a partial solar eclipse where the moon will block part of the sun from view. Partial eclipses happen more often, but those who have experienced a total solar eclipse say it is nothing in comparison.




 

Where to View

To find the best place to view the 2024 Total Solar eclipse, you need to consider not only where the path of totality is located, but where you’ll actually be able to see the sun along this path. That means we need to look at cloud cover. Cloud cover forecasts are extremely finicky even a few days out, but at this point we have a pretty good idea where precipitation and clouds are expected to be located for tomorrow’s event. To simplify this, we’ve created a viewing condition forecast map for the entire path of totality.



Best places to view: southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, Indiana, and the Northeast

These locations are expected to feature dry conditions with mostly clear skies. Only thin, high clouds are expected to be in place and will not obstruct the view.


Fair viewing conditions: northeastern Texas through northern Arkansas and Ohio

These locations will be contending with scattered cloud cover that could cause you to miss the total solar eclipse. However, skies won’t be completely cloudy, so you still have a moderate chance of experiencing it.


Bad viewing conditions: central and southern Texas and New York

These locations are expected to feature overcast skies and precipitation chances. The eclipse is unlikely to be seen for most locations.

 

As mentioned above, the Ohio Valley will be one of the best places to view the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse based on its direct path of totality and sunny skies. Temperatures will be in the middle 60s to middle 70s, which will be perfect for outdoor activities before and after the event as well. Indiana is known as the Crossroads of America for a reason- the road network boasts easy travel from all directions on major interstates and highways as well.



Tips for the Eclipse

Here are a few tips to make experiencing this special event safer and more enjoyable for everyone:

  • Fill up on gas before heading to your viewing spot.

  • Arrive early. Don’t wait until a couple hours before the event to get to your viewing spot!

  • Bring enough snacks and drinks, necessary medical items, chargers, and other emergency supplies to stay in place for several hours.

  • Find a safe parking location off the road (not on the shoulder) and have backup parking locations in mind in case your original location is unavailable. Do NOT attempt to view the eclipse while driving.

  • Until the eclipse is at 100% totality, wear approved viewing glasses at all times while looking at the sun.

  • Leave late. Significant travel delays are expected along interstates, highways, and local roadways after the event. Delaying your travel back home will help everyone get home safely and in a timelier manner.

 

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy this special event! Make sure you’re following us on social media, especially on Twitter @tdswx, to track the event in real time. We’ll have updates on current satellite conditions as the shadow traverses the country.

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