Thursday, May 25, 2017

Eclipse Numbers

The problem, as I see it, in preparing for the eclipse is that we don't have any idea as to how many people might show up. Last I heard, we still had a few (highly priced) rooms available, although rooms have been sold out for miles around Carbondale for several month. Of course,t his also happens during SIUC's graduation weekend as well. I have heard numbers floated anywhere from 5000 or roughly graduation weekend, to 50,000 to 100,000.

Fact is, we don't know how many people will show up. Carbondale is in competition with communities across the nation hosting events for the Great American Eclipse.  We are listed along with 9 other communities  as top places to see the eclipse and, while we are closest to the spot of longest totality, communities further to the west are projected to have better weather. Longest totality won't mean much if we have heavy cloud cover that day.


  1. By "further to the west" you mean the intermountain west? It seems unlikely that most regional people would travel to Idaho or Wyoming for a sub-3 minute event. Carbondale has more favorable cloud climatology than any location in Missouri or Kentucky. Also, cloud climatology looking at averages is pretty meaningless other than maybe for betting. Only 15.5 percent of years had "overcast" conditions on Aug 21. Less than overcast means we will have openings in the clouds. And looking at satellite images for the past 5 years, we were not overcast. However, this is all "past performance," and like the stock market, does not always have predictive value in any given year. It is erroneous (at this point) to say anyone is "projected" to have more or less cloudiness on August 21, only that they have historically more or less cloudiness. For comparison, the average high temp for August 21 is 87F, but over the past 10 years, only 2 August 21 had a high of 87F. The others range from 80F-93F. Averages only tell us so much.

  2. Yes,I meant the mountain west. I ran across an article in The Week magazines listing top places to view the eclipse. Several places out west at higher elevations were mentioned but nothing about Carbondale