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A Total Solar Eclipse Will Pass Through New England in One Year

Updated: Apr 9, 2023

The countdown to New England's first total solar eclipse since March 1970, when one passed over Cape Cod and the Islands, has officially begun. After April 8, 2024, the path of totality of an eclipse will not pass through New England again until 2079.  This post officially kicks off one year of eclipse coverage here at New England Storm Center.


2024 PATH OF TOTALITY


The total solar eclipse will begin in New England at 3:25 p.m. on April 8, 2024 in Vermont. The eclipse will pass over Lake Champlain and continue northeast through northern Vermont. In Vermont, the eclipse will last a maximum of 3 minutes and 34 seconds. This will happen in the state's northwest region.


Burlington will experience more than 3 minutes of totality and is the largest city in New England within the path, with a population of nearly 45,000 people. Almost the entire length of Lake Champlain is in the path. The path's northern terminus is the Canadian border, and its southern terminus runs northeast from Salisbury to Barre to Waterford. Totality will end at 3:31 p.m. in Vermont.

CREDIT: Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com



In New Hampshire, totality will begin at 3:28 p.m. The eclipse will cross the state's northern tip and quickly move northeast. At the Canadian border, New Hampshire will have a maximum duration of just under three and a half minutes. Colebrook is the largest town in the path. The town has a population of slightly more than 2,000 people.


Again, the northern terminus is the Canadian border. The southern terminus extends northeast from Dalton to Kilkenny to Cambridge. Totality will end in New Hampshire at the same time it ends in Vermont, 3:31 p.m.

CREDIT: Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com


Maine has by far the largest totality area in New England. Totality will begin in the state at 3:28pm. Maine will have just under three and a half minutes of totality. With a population of around 8,700 people, Presque Isle is the most populated place inside the path. The northern terminus runs from the Big Ten Township to Caswell.


Much of the northern terminus, as well as the totality path in general, runs through Maine's unorganized townships. The southern terminus stretches from Upton to Garland and then to Vanceboro.  Areas inside the path include Greenville, Millinocket, Houlton, Caribou and Baxter State Park. At 3:35 p.m., totality will leave Maine and New England.

CREDIT: Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com


In New England, totality will last 10 minutes, from 3:25 p.m. to 3:35 p.m. The moon's shadow will travel approximately 2,500 miles per hour when it enters Vermont and 3,175 miles per hour when it exits Maine. In New England, approximately 500,000 people live within the path, with Vermont being the most populous. In a later post, the New England Storm Center will go into greater detail about areas in the path of totality for viewing the eclipse.



PARTIAL ECLIPSE


With a total solar eclipse passing through New England, the entire region will be in the path of a partial solar eclipse. In southern Rhode Island and Cape Cod, which are the furthest away from the path, the percentage of sun coverage will be just over 85%. The partial eclipse will begin shortly after 2 p.m. and end shortly after 4:30 p.m. Almost the entire region of New England is within 200 miles of the path of totality. Only Cape Cod and the Islands are more distant.


Maximum sun coverage for select cities outside the path:


Berlin, NH: 99.9%

Portland, ME: 96.5%

Brattleboro, VT: 96.1%

Manchester, NH: 95.3%

Nashua, NH: 94.5%

Worcester, MA: 93.1%

Boston, MA: 92.4%

Hartford, CT: 92.2%

Providence, RI: 90.9%

Nantucket, MA: 87.2%


WEATHER


When it comes to the eclipse in 2024, New England, admittedly, does not have the best weather prospects. As a result, New England is unlikely to see the massive influx of visitors that areas further south will. Anyone who lives here knows that the range of potential weather in early April is quite large. Temperatures well below freezing are not unusual, and temperatures reaching the 70s are also possible. April is also one of the windiest months in New England.


While the likelihood of a powerful nor'easter hitting New England begins to decline after mid-March, the region is typically the target of unsettled weather throughout the spring (April showers). Any cloud cover, whether it's a powerful storm or just a few showers, will spoil the eclipse.



The good news for those planning to watch the eclipse in New England is that, unlike thunderstorms, which can appear unexpectedly on eclipse day, a large scale storm or cloud cover will be forecast at least several days in advance. This will give those who intend on seeing the eclipse enough time to adjust their plans.


Remember, just because this isn't the ideal time for an eclipse to cross New England weather-wise, doesn't mean it will automatically be bad. Residents of New England are well aware that April has beautiful, sunny, and warm days. Consider April 8, 2023, which had beautiful sunshine all day. So, on April 8, 2024, which will it be? Is it going to be sunny and pleasant or cloudy and dreary? Is it going to be warm or cold? In an upcoming article, I'll go into greater detail about these possibilities.



2079 ECLIPSE


Another total solar eclipse will pass over New England in 2079, for those of you who will still be around in 56 years. The totality path will cover a large portion of New England, including all of southern New England. This eclipse will come to an end shortly after leaving New England.


Stay with New England Storm for monthly eclipse articles leading up to the event as well as everything weather in New England.


Information on eclipse times, percentages and eclipse speed come from GreatAmericanEclipse.com and Eclipse2024.org



Photo: Drew Rae



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