10 million+ people will travel to see the eclipse. Here’s where they will go.
Always have a Plan B – and be mobile. That’s the advice from eclipse experts, who will all tell you to get to the Path of Totality a day early, and leave the day after to avoid traffic, but also to have wheels – and weather forecasts – to re-locate if there’s cloud. So … if you want a successful eclipse-chase, it may pay to know where the busy (and the empty) roads will be.
“The two biggest issues for this eclipse are weather and traffic,” Michael Zeiler of GreatAmericanEclipse.com tells WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com. “I decided to take a whack at looking how the US population is distributed against the Path of Totality – I’m working with census data, and also very detailed road network data that maps every single road in the country.” Zeiler, who works in the GIS industry, says it took several days of processing. “I was able to come up with estimates for where points of traffic congestion will be, as well as coming up with estimates for how many people I think will actually go and visit the eclipse – thenAdd New I broke down by State, and by Highways that intersect the centerline of the eclipse.”
Zeiler’s website has 49 maps showing that info in terrific detail, but here’s a quick list of his high estimates of how many people could travel to each US State, from his recent Predicting eclipse visitation with population statistics post. The list goes from the MOST visited State to the LEAST visited.
1 – South Carolina: 2.18 million
2 – Tennessee: 1.4 million
3 – Missouri: 1.29 million
4 – Oregon: 696,000
5 – Nebraska: 466,000
6 – Illinois: 372,000
7 – Idaho: 370,000
8 – Kentucky: 253,000
9 – Wyoming: 192,000
10 – Georgia: 63,900
11 – North Carolina: 53,300
12 – Kansas: 25,000
The results are interesting; none of the ‘top three’ US States have anything more than a 50% chance of clear skies, while Wyoming – with very good weather prospects and the smallest population – will get far, far fewer visitors than the top four States. It’s empty roads could be crucial if there’s cloud.
Photo credit: William Warby (Wikipedia)