Weather Expectations for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse | Almanac.com

Weather Expectations for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

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Chance of Cloudiness Across Major Cities

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Millions of Americans can witness the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. We’ll discuss the chance of cloudiness over major cities, travel tips, and other interesting weather details.

Where to See the Total Solar Eclipse

First, the one overarching thing to remember is that the “total” solar eclipse is ONLY on the 100-mile-wide path of totality that will cross North America. 

Yes, only during 100% totality does the Moon blot out the Sun and create the phenomena that make it truly nature’s most extraordinary experience. Check out Bob Berman’s Complete Guide to the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse!

So place yourself in the path of totality on the afternoon of April 8, 2023, and you’ll witness the most amazing thing your eyes have ever seen.    

The Path of Totality

For those who haven’t seen the path of totality, look below. The eclipse will cross Mexico as it heads northeast across the United States into eastern Canada. It will cross 15 states and 6 Canadian provinces, with 32 million people on that path, and about 328 million Americans are within a two-day drive.

nasa total solar eclipse 2024 path of totality
Visit the NASA Solar Eclipse Page to see a larger copy of this image.
Photo courtesy of NASA

Eclipse Weather Expectations

If traveling to the path of totality is a bucket list item, you will likely want to travel to the place where it’s most likely to be cloud-free to see the complete eclipse. 

The spring timing of the April total solar eclipse does mean possibilities of clouds and storms.

At this early date, weather forecasts are not going to tell us what will be happening during the April 8, 2024, Total Eclipse, but what we can do is look back at 40 years of data during the week of the eclipse and see how frequently there were clouds to help us understand the likelihood of clouds during the eclipse.

It’s no surprise that the northern states have a bigger chance of cloudier weather. The further south and west you go on this path, the more likely you are to have clear skies.

State-by-State Weather Predictions

Texas area

  • Within the U.S., Texas weather offers the best weather prospects for the total solar eclipse.  
  • San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Dallas, and Texarkana are the main cities in the eclipse path.
  • Cloudiness near the Mexico border averages about 45% up to 55% at the Oklahoma/Arkansas line.

Central U.S. into Midwest 

  • As we travel further northeast, once you reach Little Rock, AR, the chances of clouds are almost the same as a clear sky, with a 55% chance of clouds during the eclipse.  
  • A little further northeast, the eclipse crosses Carbondale (IL). This major destination during the 2017 eclipse event has an average of 60% cloudiness.
  • Then, the eclipse path treks through Indianapolis, IN, with a percentage of cloudiness in the high 60s.
  • As we cross into Ohio, the eclipse path will be near Cleveland, OH, and cloudiness falls to under 60%. 
  • The further we get into central Ohio, the percentage of cloudiness fluctuates from the upper 50s to mid-70s due to the influence of the Great Lakes.

Pennsylvania Into New York

  • As we pass into Erie, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo, NY, the chance of cloudiness settles around the mid-60s. 
  • The further away from the Great Lakes, the better the chance of clear skies; Rochester, NY, has a 60% chance of clouds. But in Watertown and Plattsburg, the chance of cloudiness rises to 70%.

New England into Atlantic Canada

  • Unfortunately, states in Northern New England (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine) have low expectations for clear weather. This covers major cities such as Burlington (VT) and Caribou (ME)
  • Cloud cover rises from 70% to 90% in parts of Maine. Most of Atlantic Canada hovers around 80% cloudiness.

Check out our 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Weather Forecast.

Top 5 Cities to Visit for the Eclipse

In addition to the weather, there are a few other factors that you should consider if you are traveling to the eclipse. It is critical that the town or city is large enough to handle the influx of tourists that will come to observe this once-in-a-lifetime event. Small towns on the path of totality may not provide optimal viewing conditions because the infrastructure is not prepared for eclipse-watchers to descend upon them.

Another element to add to the equation is its proximity to the center of the path of totality. These cities will have a few more seconds (or even a minute!) of total eclipse than the cities along the outskirts of the path of totality. With this in mind, our Top 5 Cities for Watching the Eclipse are:

  1. Nazas, Durango, Mexico (The LONGEST point of TOTALITY!)
  2. Kerrville, Texas
  3. Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  4. Indianapolis, Indiana
  5. Cleveland, Ohio

Small-scale dynamics, individual storms, and common clouds can still happen at just the wrong place at the wrong time, so regardless of your viewing location, you will never be guaranteed to see the total eclipse. 

If you want to see the rare eclipse (Do so safely with the proper equipment—never look directly at the sun. Learn how to view the total solar eclipse safely) and have unrestricted travel opportunities, the further south and west you go along the path of totality, the better your odds of checking that item off your bucket list.

inforgraphic, the best places to see the 2024 total solar eclipse

More Tips on Traveling to Eclipse

If you can travel to the eclipse path from your home, watch the weather forecast the day before and head toward the section of the eclipse path prognosticated to be clearest. See the 5-day weather forecast.

Remember, the eclipse is during the DAY (about 3 PM), so you only need to see the sky for an hour or so. You don’t need to stay overnight.

You could find a state park or even pull into a school sports field or a shopping mall and park in the most isolated section to set up some folding chairs.

Be sure to allow time for possible traffic jams. In 2017, there were stories of folks stuck on the road during the eclipse; imagine the disappointment. Avoid this by coming out a day early. 

Also, note that April 8, 2024, is a Monday, so make plans for the long weekend! (Traffic won’t be as bad after totality; few bother to observe the now-anticlimactic hourlong partial eclipse that follows it.)

If you’ve ever wanted to see nature’s #1 spectacle, don’t miss this one. No eclipse will touch the U.S. again until August 12, 2045. After that, there will be two only a year apart in 2078 and 2079. You can see the general pattern. There is typically a 20-year wait between opportunities.

As for the April 8 total solar eclipse, you must not miss it, no matter what you have to do!

About The Author

Cyrena Arnold

Cyrena Arnold is a meteorologist with over 20 years of experience. She has also written a children’s book about the weather, is a storm chaser, and was Mrs. New Hampshire 2022. Read More from Cyrena Arnold