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Weather planning for April 8th from Cleveland, Ohio

Eclipse Observing
41 replies to this topic

#1 GoneGator95

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Posted 28 February 2024 - 10:29 AM

I'm staying near my hometown in Ohio (western suburbs of Cleveland) with my teen kids and parents to stage for the April 8th eclipse. The center line basically is right over that area, so ideally it is clear (or clear enough) to enjoy the Eclipse there.

 

However, we all know the midwest and in Ohio is a ~60% average cloud cover for this event date. That has me antsy. I already have ideas about leaving early morning to drive NE in direction of Buffalo or SW in direction of Indianapolis if required and based on short-term weather patterns/forecasts. 

 

I'm curious of your thoughts, in trying to be smart here:

  • What are others planning from your (similar) locations?
  • Do you have any reliable resources on weather you are using long-range (now) and any you'll be using short-range (week prior and that day)? 
  • What do you think is an "acceptable" forecast average cloud cover to feel good about the day of?
  • What about traffic... I know in Cleveland area local agencies are already warning locals of this. Any thoughts on swarming to any open sky areas by all us Eclipse chasers; any tips from your experiences?
  • If you know Ohio, any routes (interstate or state routes) you may suggest NE or SW of Cleveland? I know the area, but with the Eclipse path any specific thoughts?

FYI- I have experience with Eclipses, I saw the annular in SW last October. Those desert skies were 100% clear when we woke up, but the day before NOAA had morning cloud possible up to ~50%!


Edited by GoneGator95, 29 February 2024 - 07:32 AM.


#2 CreatorsHand

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Posted 28 February 2024 - 11:54 AM

I'm driving down to Winchester, Indiana from Michigan's Upper Peninsula and have the same concerns about clouds. I don't know that my plans will help you much; for a number of reasons I have gone "All-In" on Winchester and am unlikely to move if clouded out, although I understand the advantage of having contingency plans. I just wanted to let you know that if you decide to head towards Indianapolis because the weather looks better, they are hosting an eclipse viewing event at the Winchester Speedway just West of Winchester (about 4 hours from Cleveland and 1 1/2 hours East of Indianapolis, in good traffic) so you are aware it is an option if you need to change your plans at the last minute and it is clear in Indiana. Trying to find a place to go could be daunting on short notice, and having options is a good thing. Hopefully you can stay in Cleveland.

 

Clear skies,

Paul


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#3 mikepier

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Posted 28 February 2024 - 01:01 PM

Being close to Lake  Erie, you actually have a slightly better chance of favorable  skies, since the cold lake inhibits cloud formation.

This is why I am leaning towards going to Rochester since it is right off Lake Ontario.

Of course, weather forecasts a few days before might  alter my plans.


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#4 Mike Q

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Posted 28 February 2024 - 01:41 PM

Being up on the lake is your best short.  If i were going to the Lake i would head to the western basin area over by Sandusky or Port Clinton.  Clouds generally form up east of them, but who knows.  April is usually a cloudy month in Ohio and the long range forecast for April has changed from cloudy and rain to clear.  Heck we could still get snow lol.  There is no really good way to get from Cleveland to Indy.  Maybe take the toll road west and then turn south.  Or maybe 71 south down to 30 and shoot across to Fort Wayne and then head south again.  



#5 Mike Q

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Posted 28 February 2024 - 03:19 PM

On second thought, trying to get to Indy going south would be a bad idea.  Rt 30 runs straight through Richland, Crawford and Wyandot counties, all of which are in totality.  You will have a lot of traffic and people to contend with in that area.  So the best bet ... Stay in Cleveland and hope for the best 



#6 Phillip Creed

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Posted 29 February 2024 - 10:04 AM

I don't US-30 will get that busy.  There's not a lot of huge towns between Ft. Wayne and Mansfield.

I think the bigger concern is traffic moving west/east along the I-90 from Toledo through Syracuse.  Besides being a busy road that also goes through Cleveland, much of I-90 in this stretch is toll road with several stretches of 10-15+ miles between exits.  Get a bunch of folks making a dash for clear skies and add in just a few car accidents, and you've got pre-totality gridlock.

Clear Skies,

Phil


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#7 Phillip Creed

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Posted 29 February 2024 - 01:11 PM

Basically, the plan for anywhere starting the day near Cleveland is keep your plans flexible, don't think twice about bolting for sunnier skies...but if you have to bolt, leave EARLY.

I'm starting from the southern end of the path.  The idea is to drive closer to the centerline, but not necessarily on it.  Any umbral depth of 50% or more will easily net me more totality than the 2min 40sec I had in 2017 but might -- MIGHT -- allow me to drive home and beat the rush of those leaving the centerline.  If it's close enough to home I'll just stay put where I am.

I've got several places in mind for Ohio, but only one is within 5 miles of the centerline.  Most are 10 - 25 miles off the centerline but well within the path.

Clear Skies,

Phil


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#8 Starry_Spruce

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Posted 29 February 2024 - 08:15 PM

I'm not in your area, but in regards to weather, I typically use NOAA.

 

For getting broad sweeps, the cloud cover graphical forecasts are handy: (click on sky cover and you can zoom into specific regions)

https://www.weather.gov/forecastmaps

 

For specific places, the hourly weather graphs with percent sky cover is useful: https://www.weather....y-weather-graph

 

This site has a variety of forecasts models by location if you want to really get into it: https://spotwx.com/

 

GOES satellite for real views and other imagery types: https://www.star.nes.../goes/index.php

 

I'm sure everyone knows about: https://www.astrospheric.com/

 

This site is eclipse specific and gives an overview of historic trends along the path and at the end discusses resources for short range forecasting (much of what I link above): https://eclipsophile.com/2024tse/

 

This site is also eclipse specific and will update as April 8th approaches: http://astronomy.rob...24Forecast.html

 

--------------------------------------

A quote from the eclipsophile page:

 

"A word of caution: models aren’t really very good until about a week ahead of an event, and improve steadily as the moment approaches. You will use the NAM and the RDPS for the two-three days ahead of the eclipse and the long-range models before. Once the models start to look like each other, with similar cloud patterns and precipitation amounts and when successive model runs keep the same forecast, you can begin to trust them."

 

and "When eclipse day arrives and the weather at your site is looking iffy, the local weather broadcast channel may be all that you need. For the most part, they concentrate on what’s happening now and what will happen in the next few hours. That may be all you need. In the end, preparation and mobility will be important."


Edited by Starry_Spruce, 29 February 2024 - 08:19 PM.

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#9 Tom Laskowski

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Posted 29 February 2024 - 10:48 PM

Something I found extremely useful was the Forecast Discussion on the National Weather Service page for whatever city is closest to your chosen site. If you go to the main page for your location and look for Additional Forecasts and Information then click on the Forecast Discussion link it will take you to to a very detailed and somewhat technical discussion of the forecast.

 

When I was in Marion, IL for the 2017 eclipse I checked the St. Louis NWS page and they gave very good details about the eclipse and pretty much told you where the best locations were in their forecast area to see it. I think it was updated every three hours or so but it was very helpful.


Edited by Tom Laskowski, 29 February 2024 - 10:50 PM.

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#10 GoneGator95

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Posted 13 March 2024 - 08:40 AM

Hello all, thanks for the various ideas and links. All of this is good stuff and helps me (and hopefully anyone reading) consdier some smart planning.

 

As for Ohio-ish specific ideas:

  • I grew up near Lake Erie and know how it can effect weather patterns. I had read the idea it may hold off clouds. Good to keep in mind day of. 
  • I think I-80 and I-90 in all of Ohio is going to be very busy/dicey if there is an obvious W<>E direction to get away from clouds; with I-90 NE of Cleveland through Buffalo being a bottle neck if NE if the best direction. 
  • I also think I-71 will become a problem if S or SW is the clearly better direction.
  • Especially if we are dodging spotty clouds vs. full overcast: I like the idea of taking state routes south/SW of Cleveland to stay in totality and perhaps avoid some traffic headaches (at least have more alt options vs being stick on a freeway). Rt 83 or 511 south to Rt 20 or Rt 30 or Rt 224.
  • I plan to watch close in the days and 24 hours prior, to be agile and plan to leave before daybreak if a clear need and clearly superior alternate spot is defined. 
  • Watching traffic data will be important too that day as you make decisions: https://ohgo.com/
  • Having a paper map/resources is also probably also not a bad idea... lots of people in these areas will be taxing mobile networks (especially if in rural areas you would think). 

Edited by GoneGator95, 13 March 2024 - 08:41 AM.


#11 GoneGator95

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Posted 13 March 2024 - 08:45 AM

I'll add... if NE in direction of Buffalo from Cleveland is the "only" way to get away from clouds (SW to Indy say is totally clouded in) then I'd probably take I-90 that way (leaving as EARLY as possible), but I'd expect traffic issues... Seems like this is the worse case situation from Cleveland if clouded there... and/or would only be last effort not to miss the totality event.



#12 Phillip Creed

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Posted 13 March 2024 - 01:43 PM

I'll add... if NE in direction of Buffalo from Cleveland is the "only" way to get away from clouds (SW to Indy say is totally clouded in) then I'd probably take I-90 that way (leaving as EARLY as possible), but I'd expect traffic issues... Seems like this is the worse case situation from Cleveland if clouded there... and/or would only be last effort not to miss the totality event.

For mobility purposes, if I had to bolt towards Buffalo from Cleveland, I'd be east of I-271 by sunrise and then I'd exit I-90 before it becomes the NYS Thruway.  Take either SR-5 or US-20 up to Buffalo.

Any major accident on a freeway on E-Day can spell problems but ESPECIALLY on a toll road with long stretches between exits whose route largely parallels the centerline.

The other possibility is take I-90 to I-86 east and then north on either US-62 or US-219 to Buffalo.

Clear Skies,

Phil



#13 Mike Q

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Posted 13 March 2024 - 03:55 PM

I don't US-30 will get that busy.  There's not a lot of huge towns between Ft. Wayne and Mansfield.

I think the bigger concern is traffic moving west/east along the I-90 from Toledo through Syracuse.  Besides being a busy road that also goes through Cleveland, much of I-90 in this stretch is toll road with several stretches of 10-15+ miles between exits.  Get a bunch of folks making a dash for clear skies and add in just a few car accidents, and you've got pre-totality gridlock.

Clear Skies,

Phil

Richland County EMA is going with 200 to 250k visiter for this area.  Wyandot and Crawford Counties will get even more totality then Mansfield. Bucyrus and Upper Sandusky will be swamped because of Rts 30, 23, 4 and 98.  



#14 gjanke

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Posted 16 March 2024 - 03:51 PM

I've got a good feeling about Cleveland on the 8th...



#15 Binary Star

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Posted 17 March 2024 - 09:39 PM

I'm staying home in Cuyahoga Falls, OH south of Cleveland where we'll get about 3 minutes if it's clear that day.  I was fortunate enough to see the 2017 total eclipse in western Kentucky so I'm taking the risk of clouds here. We're having an eclipse party for family and friends and I expect to have fun no matter what happens. Like I've been telling everyone - at the very least it's gonna get dark for 3 minutes in the middle of the afternoon!  

 

Best wishes to everyone on the path for a great experience!



#16 GoneGator95

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Posted 03 April 2024 - 09:20 PM

Hi friends, what are we thinking for Cleveland area clouds at this point now getting within 5 days?

 

I have been using as primary references: 

I do have the option to not go to Ohio and go to southern MO/IL which currently look like better clear sky bets. I'd stage in St Louis metro and move onto totality area early AM on 8th.

 

Welcome your thoughts...



#17 gjanke

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Posted 04 April 2024 - 08:19 AM

Hi friends, what are we thinking for Cleveland area clouds at this point now getting within 5 days?

 

I have been using as primary references: 

I do have the option to not go to Ohio and go to southern MO/IL which currently look like better clear sky bets. I'd stage in St Louis metro and move onto totality area early AM on 8th.

 

Welcome your thoughts...

I think Cleveland is looking better and better..



#18 Bubbagumps

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Posted 04 April 2024 - 09:17 AM

I am in NE Ohio. The forecast has actually been deteriorating from my perspective. I have no idea what the actual weather will be. The predictions change daily. The forecast currently sits at clouds and showers giving to way to some sun in the afternoon. 



#19 gjanke

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Posted 04 April 2024 - 09:29 AM

I am in NE Ohio. The forecast has actually been deteriorating from my perspective. I have no idea what the actual weather will be. The predictions change daily. The forecast currently sits at clouds and showers giving to way to some sun in the afternoon. 

The good news is it happens in the afternoon. Short of a rain out, which doesn’t appear to be in the forecast it’s gonna happen and be spectacular.



#20 GoneGator95

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Posted 05 April 2024 - 08:19 PM

Unless there is some big change in forecasts, I am going to another location vs Ohio. I'm wishing the best for all my Ohio friends & family (including all of you!)

 

Here is my current plan if interested or any thoughts:

https://www.cloudyni...sts/?p=13372710

 

Good luck all & thank you!



#21 Mike Q

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Posted 06 April 2024 - 10:25 AM

My locatin is the dot.  This is the cloud cover currently predicted based on the Canadian model.  I am still of the mind that Lake Erie will be your best bet. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Screenshot_20240406_112213_DuckDuckGo.jpg

Edited by Mike Q, 06 April 2024 - 10:27 AM.


#22 Navy Chief

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Posted 06 April 2024 - 10:46 AM

My hotel is in Cleveland, I am staying open to heading southwest toward clearer skies if needed.

#23 Bubbagumps

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Posted 06 April 2024 - 11:09 AM

My hotel is in Cleveland, I am staying open to heading southwest toward clearer skies if needed.

 

If Cleveland looks sketchy, I would definitely head out early because everyone else is going to have the same idea.

 

A couple friends in the Coumbus area are heading out at 5AM to find a spot based on the forecast at that time. I wouldn't wait until 10AM to start moving because it's likely to be a madhouse on the roads headed South and East. Getting there early also means you can find a choice spot to stop.   Given you will likely be in an unfamiliar area, its important to give yourself time to get settled. 


Edited by Bubbagumps, 06 April 2024 - 11:10 AM.

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#24 Phillip Creed

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Posted 06 April 2024 - 12:15 PM

I'm in NE Ohio near Canton but at this point I think I'll need at least a 2-hr drive west to get a suitable spot.

Clear Skies,
Phil

#25 PhotogTom

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Posted 06 April 2024 - 01:50 PM

If Cleveland looks sketchy, I would definitely head out early because everyone else is going to have the same idea.

 

A couple friends in the Coumbus area are heading out at 5AM to find a spot based on the forecast at that time. I wouldn't wait until 10AM to start moving because it's likely to be a madhouse on the roads headed South and East. Getting there early also means you can find a choice spot to stop.   Given you will likely be in an unfamiliar area, its important to give yourself time to get settled. 

I agree. latest show western Ohio to be better, but have a plan to assess at the last minute and head out if necessary. And yes, traffic will likely suck that day if there are better skies a hundred miles away or so. Have the car filled up and packed Sunday if you can. If security is an issue, have your gear staged for a quick loadup and exit.


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