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For Indiana Eclipse Observers-Part 1

If you plan to observe the 2024 solar eclipse from Indiana, online resources can facilitate a better experience, provided internet service is available. Visitation models suggest up to half a million people may flood the state, with weather influencing the tally. Prepare for the awe rather than be overwhelmed by the Oh No!


Traffic

On April 8, Indiana will be the Eclipseroads of America. To get live traffic updates overlaid onto an eclipse map, select the automobile icon in the left column of Xavier Jubier's interactive Google map. The Indiana State Police state, "Arrival early, stay put, leave late." Of course, you may get lucky and not be greatly impacted. But an unexpected road condition, local emergency, protest, social media post, or other circumstance can jam traffic in a hurry.


Realize the week preceding April 8 is Spring Break for many people. Prior to the eclipse there may be additional traffic transiting the state as people head home from vacation. However, after the eclipse may be particularly heavy traffic, even by eclipse standards. Having been away from school or work for a week, many people are taking an extra day off on the Monday after (i.e., Eclipse Day). They have to be home Tuesday morning, so the exodus following the conclusion of the eclipse will likely be amplified.

Weather

It is what it is. What matters isn't the historical weather trend but what happens a few hours of a single, big day. As April 8 opens, you may be tempted to re-locate in order to find a preferred site with better visibility prospects. To make such a decision, in addition to news forecasts you can interpret the satellite data yourself. For cloud data overload, view current animation loops and images of the Upper Mississippi Valley sector and Great Lakes sector of GOES satellites. That said, internet service may be disrupted from the increase in digital traffic.



Events

Sites promoting larger eclipse events in Indiana and relevant info include:


Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Visit Indy


Visit Indiana


State of Indiana


Indiana Department of Homeland Security


Indiana Department of Homeland Security


IDHS Planning Guide


Eclipse Maps by Michael Zeiler


Weather models for Indiana

Cloud coverage


Weather on the sun


Real-Time Eclipse Traffic


Preparedness

Be self sufficient. Simple things matter. For example, don't expect the busiest gas stations in the state to have restrooms continuously stocked with toilet paper. Bring your own TP. You're not the only person thinking you'll "just take the back roads," and small businesses along that route can't be expected to serve all the travelers. Fuel up before your reach the zone of totality.


Bring plenty of water. The weeks before April 8, keep any plastic bottles to re-use for traveling water. Carry lots of snacks or non-refrigerated food, for you'll want the option to pass crowds at busy exits. And since you'll be hydrating, consider bringing a hula hoop, shower curtain, bucket, and toilet paper. Don't kid yourself. Those restrooms at a public park could be overwhelmed or plugged or out of TP, and then what are you supposed to do? Leave your site to find an alternative toilet?


You need to be flexible. Social media posts or local circumstances can suddenly disrupt expectations, change flow patterns, force you to react. Realize this is one of the largest one-off events in Indiana history, and some of the four million Hoosiers who live in the path of totality will be on the move, too. If it's cloudy elsewhere but clear in Indiana, the effects are compounded.


For comparison, over a 7-day period preceding Super Bowl 2009, a record 1.1 million people visited the NFL Experience. On April 8, 2024, millions will be circulating in the path of totality for a three-hour experience. One estimate suggests the number of people traveling to totality will be the biggest travel event in US history, equivalent to 50 Super Bowls, with Indiana second in travel only to Texas.


Obviously, I recommend the Indiana State Police advice, "Arrival early, stay put, leave late." You want to wallow in the awe of a total solar eclipse, not be mired in traffic and logistical concerns.



State Police poster.
Indiana State Police: Arrive early, stay put, leave late.

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