Waco Mammoth National Monument Should See Longest Period Of Totality From Eclipse

The band on the right highlights the April 8, 2024 path of totality/NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

If you’re planning to go in search of a great place to watch the upcoming solar eclipse, you likely can’t go wrong with national parks in Texas. Both Waco Mammoth National Monument and Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park will enjoy more than 4 minutes of totality.

Cloudy weather, of course, could impact the view for eclipse watchers on April 8. But there’s a company that says its artificial intelligence-powered weather forecast program can help direct you to the spot with the least chance of cloudiness. Of course, with April 8 still nearly two weeks off, things could change from what the program tells you today. Indeed, the company, Excarta, says that currently “the uncertainty in the forecast rests at 20-30% percent depending on the location.” The closer we get to April 8, the more certain the forecast prediction will become.

According to data compiled by the National Park Service, a handful of parks will experience a complete solar eclipse on that day, with Waco Mammoth National Monument in Texas expected to be in the dark for 4 minutes, 18 seconds. Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, also in Texas, will be right behind, with 4 minutes, 13 seconds of totality.

In the United States, the total eclipse is predicted to stretch from Texas on an arc through Ohio and upstate New York into  Maine, where it will cross Kathadin Woods and Waters National Monument.

You can check out the route, and the time of totality in specific parks, at this website.

If you are considering a trip to Texas to view the eclipse, here’s some advice from the folks at LBJ National Historical Park:

Spring is a popular time to visit the Texas Hill Country in any year. The weather is warm but, with any luck, the summer heatwave has not started. If there has been rain, the grass is green and the wildflowers are blooming. You’ll also be one of many visitors enjoying Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.

Now throw in the added thrill of viewing a total solar eclipse on April 8.

Of all the eclipse viewing locations across the country, Texas has the best chance of good weather and clear skies on April 8. Some predictions put visitation to the Texas Hill Country at nearly 500,000. We expect to be very busy the weekend leading up to the eclipse.

Of course, with that many people, you can count on traffic problems.

Meanwhile, at the northern end of the path of the eclipse, the folks at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument say the weather at this time of year can be highly variable.

The weather in April is unpredictable in this region of Maine. Over the past 5 years, the temperature on April 8th has been anywhere from 28°- 60°F. This means that the conditions of monument can range from snowy, icy, or very muddy from snowmelt. [This information is subject to change as April 8, 2024 approaches.] Check weather.gov for more specific information on northern Maine to help you plan for the total eclipse.

Route 159 to Grand Lake Road takes you to the northern section of the monument. The North Gate will be closed. The only parking area available during this time is at the North Gate parking lot. Visitors will have to travel by foot past the North Gate.

Route 11 to Swift Brook Road is the route to the southern section of the monument. It also brings you to the the Loop Road. Swift Brook Road and gates are privately owned, so they may be closed.

American Thread Road is the access point to the Seboeis Parcel. This road is not maintained during the winter. Depending on weather, it may either be too snowy, icy or muddy to travel very far.

Whichever national park site you plan to view the eclipse from, be sure to pack your patience and your solar glasses to protect your eyes.

Traveler footnote: If you can’t travel to watch the eclipse in person, watch for our podcast on April 7, when our guest will be Dr. Tyler Nordgren, an astronomer and artist and author Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets.

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