Apr 8, 2024 - News

What to know for solar eclipse day in Arkansas

<span style="display: block;text-align: center;">Path of the April 8, 2024 eclipse</span>
Data: NASA; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Whether you've looked forward to the solar eclipse or are simply tired of the hype, your day has arrived.

Why it matters: The unofficial long weekend (for many) has the potential to be Arkansas' largest tourism event ever, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last month.

State of play: The eclipse's path of totality will travel across Arkansas, from its southwest corner to its northeast corner, from about 1:45pm to 2pm.

  • Locations in the middle of the 115-mile-wide path — Russellville, Morrilton, Mountain View, Clinton — will experience up to four minutes' more darkness than those at the edges.

Travel

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) estimates as many as 1.5 million visitors could travel to the Natural State and that up to 500,000 Arkansas residents may move toward the path of totality.

What they're saying: "Bring your patience," said Dave Parker, public information officer with ARDOT.

  • He stressed that people should manage their expectations and know that travel times are likely to be a little longer than normal.
  • Arkansas travelers should also take extra snacks and water.
  • The most up-to-date traffic information can be seen on IDrive Arkansas and its mobile app.

"This is an historic moment and we want people to have fun with it and enjoy it and have a good time. Be safe about it," Parker said.

Weather

Going into the weekend, cloudy skies seemed more likely south of Interstate 40, with the north side of that line experiencing only high, thin clouds, meteorologist Garrett Lewis told Axios.

  • The high clouds predicted in NWA are still good for eclipse viewing, though our corner of the state is outside the totality path.
  • Sky gazers in the middle of the state face about a 50% chance that a front moving in this morning will stall before it reaches them, Lewis said.

Janice Dean from Fox Weather will do live remotes from Little Rock throughout the day — probably at the zoo, she told Axios.

  • It's hard to predict cloud cover, she said, especially over any given area over a short period of time.

What they're saying: Dean covered the solar eclipse in 2017. "There were people crying," she said.

  • The event is an opportunity for people to put differences aside and connect, if only for a while.
  • FOX Weather will broadcast live coverage online all day.
A traffic map of Arkansas showing the path of the solar eclipse and likely areas of traffic delays.
Courtesy Arkansas Department of Transportation

Watch at home

If you prefer an armchair to an interstate, Arkansas PBS also will provide live coverage online from a more local point of view.

Our thought bubble: Practice patience and tolerance on the road, be safe with your eyes and have fun.

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