CLEVELAND (WJW) – Totality. Darkness in the middle of the day.
On August 21, 2017, this is what the sun looked like in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, a small town near the Tennessee border that was almost dead center of a narrow corridor where the eclipse showed total darkness in the daytime sky.
In 2024, the skies over Ohio will look the same as a total solar eclipse reaches totality high over Avon Lake near the border with Bay Village.
“It is a huge deal it’s less than 600 days away,” said Cleveland State University astronomer Jay Reynolds.
Reynolds says the countdown is on.
The eclipse on April 8, 2024 will cut a swath across the U.S. from Lake Erie at Avon Lake all through Ohio and all the way down to San Antonio, Texas.
Some of the best viewing in the country is in Avon Lake because, even though the moon and sun are big, the eclipse shadow is not.
“The center line of this eclipse is very, very small. The width of the dark shadow is not very wide, so you have to be on that to fully appreciate and enjoy the total solar eclipse. If you’re to the left or right of that, you’re only 99 to 98%.” Reynolds said
The viewing will be so good in Northeast Ohio, it will be a day that the earth will sort of stand still. At least the people will, anyway.
That’s sort of what happened in Hopkinsville, Kentucky back in 2017. In the week before the eclipse, the town of 30,000 had to accommodate more than 30,000 visitors.
Here and in other small towns in the path, hotels were full and traffic was snarled.
In about a year, Avon Lake, a town of about just under 25,000, could have to do the same.
They’ve already started to get ready. Mayor Greg Zilka confirmed to FOX 8 that the city and Lorain County are looking ahead now to figure out ways to accommodate thousands of visitors.
They’re not alone. Ohio’s emergency management agency has created a website with lodging and travel information and is working with smaller communities along the path of totality.
Reynolds says any community along the path of totality will see things come to a stop.
“The sun is going to disappear in the middle of the day, birds are going to come out and go to sleep and for about four minutes, it’s going to be dark. Street lights will come on and, more importantly, if it’s not cloudy out, people will pull over on the side of the road and traffic will come to a stop,” Reynold said.
You’ve got to think that the last time Northeast Ohio experienced totality, in 1806, the state had only been around for three years.
After 2024, the next time won’t be until the year 2444.
So thinking about this truly once in a lifetime event, no matter how early, is a way to make sure you and others get a chance to see something really cool.
“Something to enjoy with the family, you and your kids. It’s something they will remember, they’ll put down their phones for this,” Reynolds said.
For more information about the eclipse and great viewing spots across Ohio, you can go follow this link.