Axios Dallas

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Happy Monday! Look up.

⛈ Today's weather: Mid-80s, with increasing chances of storms this evening.

🎵 Sounds like: "Eclipse"

🎂 Happy birthday to our Axios Dallas member Shawny Bird!

🚌 Situational awareness: Ennis ISD is among a handful of North Texas school districts that will close schools today for the eclipse.

Today's newsletter is 803 covered words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: The state of our home insurance rates

Average annual cost of homeowners insurance
Source: Reproduced from NerdWallet; Note: NerdWallet determined the average homeowners insurance cost by calculating the median rate for 40-year-old homeowners across various insurance providers in every ZIP code nationwide; Map: Axios Visuals

Home insurance premiums are on the rise nationwide, and Texas remains one of the states with the highest rates.

Why it matters: Homeowners have experienced major cost of living hikes because of rising property taxes, electricity bills and insurance premiums.

The big picture: Oklahoma and Texas now have the highest average home insurance costs in the country, more than double the national average, per a NerdWallet analysis.

  • U.S. home insurance rates are expected to reach a record high this year, per Bloomberg.

State of play: Texas' severe weather events have caused $402 billion in damages since 1980, more than any other state.

  • The losses have fueled an increase in insurance premiums as companies recoup payouts and anticipate upcoming expenses.
  • Texas' effective rate change for owner-occupied homeowners insurance increased 23% in 2023, per S&P Global. It was the highest increase of any state.
  • The average cost of $300,000 of dwelling coverage in Texas is $4,400, per NerdWallet. The national average is $1,915.

The intrigue: Our neighbors to the north pay an average of $5,500 for similar coverage — another reason to never live in Oklahoma.

Zoom in: In Dallas, the average annual cost of $300,000 of home insurance coverage is $5,045, per NerdWallet. In Fort Worth, the average annual cost is $5,335.

  • Houston's is even higher, at $6,610.

What's next: Insurance premiums may keep rising as climate change intensifies weather events, including wildfires and storms.

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2. ⌛ A procrastinator's guide to the eclipse

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

If you've procrastinated on eclipse planning, all is not lost. There are still a few places where you can go to watch the total solar eclipse with other people, as long as you're willing to brave the traffic for fourish minutes of thrill.

Driving the news: Dallas-Fort Worth is expected to have one of the longest durations of totality in North America.

  • A partial eclipse is expected to begin around 12:23pm. Totality, when day will look like night, is expected 1:40-1:44pm.
  • You'll need eclipse glasses to watch it safely, but you can make a pinhole camera if you're in a pinch.

Yes, but: The National Weather Service is forecasting high cloud cover for the region into Central Texas today, meaning the eclipse may be obscured.

  • If there are still thick clouds at noon, they'll likely stay put through eclipse time.

Here are some free eclipse events happening locally today…

🌎 AT&T Discovery District: The district is planning to give the first 4,000 guests complimentary eclipse glasses. Speakers from NASA will participate in a panel, and The Exchange Hall and Cowboy Chow will have eclipse-themed food and drinks.

  • 10am-3pm.

🏟️ The Cotton Bowl: NASA, the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will feature Neil deGrasse Tyson and the PBS series "Ready, Jet, Go!"

🏞️ Levy Event Plaza: The Las Colinas lookout point off Lake Carolyn will have paddle boat rentals, gondola cruises and a piece of the world's largest edible MoonPie.

  • Noon-3pm. You'll have to pay for parking.

🎡 Grandscape: Autism Speaks-branded eclipse glasses will be for sale at this lawn party in The Colony.

  • Noon-2pm.

📬 Have any cool plans for the eclipse? Post an Instagram story capturing your experience and tag us @axiostexas for other readers to see!

More ways to watch

3. 🌚 Mapped: Airbnb eclipse bookings follow path of totality

Share of Airbnb and Vrbo listings booked ahead of the April&nbsp8 eclipse
Data: AirDNA; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Airbnbs and others are booked solid in and around the path of totality for today's total solar eclipse, per estimates from short-term rental analytics platform AirDNA.

  • In fact, mapping out fully booked cities paints an almost perfect picture of the path the eclipse will take as it crosses America from Texas to Maine.

How it works: AirDNA collects daily booking data from over 10 million short-term rental properties worldwide.

  • It looks at properties listed on both Airbnb and Vrbo, but de-duplicates listings posted on both sites "to give a true size of the industry," the company says.

4. 🗞 Burnt ends: Bite-sized news bits

Today's reading shows a 100% chance of the moon covering the sun, even if we can't see it. Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🛬 A Houston-bound Southwest Airlines flight from Denver had to return to the Mile High City after the engine cover fell off and hit the wing during takeoff. It's the second incident in a week for the Dallas-based airline. (DMN)

⚖️ Two Denton ISD principals have been indicted on accusations of sending emails to staff urging them to vote for specific candidates in the Republican primary. (Texas Tribune)

Some highway exits into Downtown Dallas will be closed today to manage eclipse traffic. (WFAA)

5. 🛋️ One vibey hookah lounge to go

For friendly hangs over fruity smells. Photo: Naheed "Good Vibes" Rajwani-Dharsi/Axios

Hookah lounges in the Dallas area tend to be run-down, but this upscale spot in The Colony caters to smokers and non-smokers.

The intrigue: Enjoying hookah, also called shisha, is a common pastime in Middle Eastern cultures. People socialize for hours over occasional puffs of flavored tobacco heated on coals.

Vibe check: Sheesh has a moody feel — dark interiors, neon lights, velvet chairs and long sofas. There's live music on some nights, but even the streamed music on regular nights is bumping.

  • The menu includes mocktails, food, dessert and hookah flavors with funny names.
  • Pro tip: The hookahs are shareable and come with disposable plastic tips for each person.
A rectangular slice of cake with yellow drizzling and pistachio crumble
Milky cake worth coming back for. Photo: Naheed "Vibrant" Rajwani-Dharsi/Axios

What to order: Smooth criminal-flavored hookah and a ras malai cake that's soaked in saffron- and cardamom-infused milk.

Where: Sheesh Eatery & Lounge, 4707 State Hwy 121, in The Colony

Cost: $29.99 for the hookah, $6.50 for the cake

Six word review: Modern way to enjoy ancient tradition.

😋 Have a favorite hidden gem we should try? Hit reply and let us know.

This newsletter was edited by Bob Gee and copy edited by Carolyn DiPaolo.

Our picks:

🌜 Tasha is glad to live under the same sun and moon as Naheed.

💗 Naheed is over the moon after reading Tasha's sweet, sweet comment.

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