Millions of Americans will witness the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024! Find out if you live on or near the path of totality—and the best U.S. states from which to see the complete eclipse. It’s not too early to make travel plans!
For the 2024 total solar eclipse, over 32 million people will be on the path of totality in the United States (versus 12 million people in 2017)! This eclipse will also be stunningly long, with 4 minutes and 27 seconds of total darkness, almost double that of the 2017 event. Check out our Complete Guide to the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse!
Before we get into weather conditions, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you live or can travel to the eclipse “path of totality.” Only during 100% totality does the Moon blot out the Sun and create the phenomena that make it truly nature’s most extraordinary experience.
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.
A Chance of Clouds
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.
At this early date, weather forecasts are not going 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.
Looking at the path of totality, where you will see the best view of the solar eclipse ranges from Austin, TX, up to Caribou, ME. And here’s a spoiler alert: The further south and west you go on this path, the more likely you are to have clear skies.
From Cleveland, OH, up through Caribou, ME, there’s about a 70% chance that you’re going to have a cloudy sky. This will include the cities of Burlington, VT; Syracuse, NY; Buffalo, NY; and Erie, PA. Locations near here can expect similar conditions, extending into the Canadian provinces.
A little further southwest, Dayton, OH;Indianapolis, IN; and surrounding locations have a 60 to 70% chance of seeing cloudy skies during the total eclipse.
As we travel further southwest, once you reach Little Rock, AR, the chances of clouds are almost the same as a clear sky, with a 50 to 60% chance of clouds during the eclipse.
Fort Worth, Waco, and Austin, TX, have a 40% chance of seeing clouds during the 2024 solar eclipse, as does much of Mexico.
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 in the path of totality may not provide optimal viewing conditions because the infrastructure is not prepared for the 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:
Nazas, Durango, Mexico (The LONGEST point of TOTALITY!)
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Small-scale dynamics, individual storms, and common clouds can still happen at just the wrong place at the wrong time, so there is never a guarantee you will see the total eclipse, regardless of your viewing location.
Wherever you are in the path of totality from Austin, TX, up through Caribou, ME, it will get dark, and you will still get to experience what it’s like to have mid-day turn to night in the path of totality. But if you want to have that rare sight of the eclipse (Do so safely with the proper equipment—never look directly at the sun. Learn how to view the total solar eclipse.), and you have unrestricted travel opportunities, the further south and west you go along the path of totality is where you’re going to have the better odds of checking that item off your bucket list.
Tips on Traveling to Eclipse Path
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.
Remember, you only need to see the sky for an hour or so. Once in totality’s path you could find a state park or even pull into a 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. Many hotels and campgrounds are already booked so start planning now.
Also, note that April 8, 2024 is on 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, when totality’s path will sweep across 11 states from northern California to directly over Disneyworld in Florida. After that there will be two only a year apart in 2078 and 2079. You can see the general pattern. Typically a 20-year-wait between opportunities.
As for the April 8 total solar eclipse: That you must not miss, no matter what you have to do.
Author Cyrena Arnold is a meteorologist with over 20 years of experience, from installing weather stations on the remote Alaska tundra to Director of Summit Operations for the Mount Washington Observatory to an NH1 News TV Meteorologist. She has also written a children’s book about the weather called, “The Weather Story,” is a storm chaser, and was Mrs. New Hampshire 2022. Find Cyrena on social media @WxCyrena or visit her website, WxCyrena.com.