Two years until the great Texas solar eclipse: This is what you need to know

Start thinking about making the short trip for Monday April 8, 2024

KPRC 2 meteorologist Anthony Yanez discusses what you need to know about the total solar eclipse coming to Texas.

Almost five years ago, Aug. 21, 2017:

HOUSTON – My family and I made the trip to Rickreall, Oregon, in 2017 to see the total solar eclipse. And I promise you, if the weather cooperates, it is completely worth making the effort to see. This is a picture my friend Wendy Chavez took in Oregon.

This is a good idea what you will see during the total solar eclipse. The sun's corona and a diamond ring effect.

What is a total solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse happens when the moon casts a shadow on Earth, fully or partially blocking the sun’s light. The experience of totality, being in a place where the moon is completely blocking the sun’s light is incredible! Most of us have seen a partial solar eclipse, but that experience does not compare. Below are the cities that will experience totality, as well as what percentage of the sun will be blocked by the moon on April 8, 2024.

You are going to want to be within the pink lines and as close to the blue line as possible. Houston will be 90% eclipsed.
Also seen are some larger cities in the path of totality.

Why you should not be in Houston on that day:

Houston will get a partial eclipse covering 90% of the sun. But if you are in the path of totality, you’ll be able to see the sun’s corona. That is the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere. Because of the brightness of the sun, it can only be seen during a total solar eclipse. I saw the diamond ring effect in 2017 before the moon moved out of the sun’s shadow. And Baily’s beads can also be seen during totality. These are an arc of bright spots first seen during an eclipse in 1836.

Seeing the sun like this may be one of the most incredible sites you'll see in your lifetime.

What you should be thinking about now:

The total solar eclipse starts around 1:30 p.m. on April 8, 2024. The closer you are to the center line the longer you’ll be in totality which for some of us will be almost four and a half minutes! In Oregon we were in totality for 58 seconds. Because this is such an incredible sight, most hotels are already booked, and Airbnb rentals will be expensive. If you have friends and family in the path of totality, now is a great time to make your plans.

Eola Hills Vineyard. You'll want to find a spot that has great visibility. You don't want to be blocked by buildings or homes.

Get there early! The roads will be gridlocked with people who think they can drive the morning of April 8, and get to a good spot. Literally millions of people will do this. Don’t be one of them. Do you remember what the evacuation of Hurricane Rita looked like in Houston? Yeah, you don’t want to get stuck and miss totality.

We were already in the path of totality the day before. We drove to our spot early in the morning. Yeah, the kids needed a little more time to rest.

Drive, don’t fly. Rental cars will be hard to find and you don’t want to be stuck in an area that has clouds or thunderstorms. As we’ve seen the past several weeks, thunderstorms happen once or twice a week this time of year in Texas. If you have your own car, you may be able to drive to a clear spot for those precious minutes. The hope is we have clear skies nationwide on that day.

Don’t rush back to Houston. Think Hurricane Rita in the opposite direction.

Get your eclipse glasses early. There are only two places in the United States that manufacture solar eclipse glasses. There will come a point, a few weeks before the eclipse, that glasses will be nearly impossible to find.

Once the moon completely blocks the Sun, it is safe to look at the sun and take off your glasses.

I’ll have another post in a year, and as we get closer to the date, I’ll have much more to share. For now, start thinking about how you’ll see this incredible event. If you want to learn more Mr. Eclipse, Fred Espenak, is one of the leading experts on all eclipses. He has an excellent website.

A friendly reminder on that day no matter where you are.

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