April 13, 2024

Why Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are good choices

If someone tells you that the April 8 total solar eclipse is over and will be cloudy, show them a map of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and explain that inland lakes can reduce cloudiness.

It is a quirk of the path of totality on April 8 that nearly all of North America’s two Great Lakes—Lake Erie and Lake Ontario—experience a total solar eclipse. Cloud cover or not (and early weather forecasts suggest clear skies from Monday, April 1st), it will still be dark.

Only the southwest corners of each of them will not experience daytime darkness and the opportunity to see the solar corona with the naked eye, denying Detroiters and Toronto residents something genuinely spectacular.

MORE FROM FORBES15 Logical Places to See the Total Solar Eclipse in the Northeast US

Hundreds of miles

The Niagara Peninsula between the two lakes will be a draw for Canadians — as will Niagara Falls on both sides of the border — but hundreds of miles of shoreline on both lakes could be a wise choice on April 8 in the northeastern United States. USA.

About 5.6 million people live along Lake Ontario, about 2.8 million each in Canada on the north shore and the USA on the south shore.

The latter is in western New York state and about a five or six hour drive from New York City, Boston, and Washington, D.C.

Shrinking the Cloud

There is a 70% chance of clouds in some areas of this region of the path of totality (although only according to historical climate statistics), but with careful positioning you can reduce this. “In the case of New York, the lakes are your friend,” said meteorologist Jay Anderson, who presents a climatological analysis of eclipse tracks on Eclipsophile and recently published an update on Sky and telescope. Their cloud cover graphs reveal that in some cases there can be a shift of up to 15% from the north to the south side. “There are good sites along the south shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario that convey a 10% climatological advantage – although that advantage only comes with certain types of weather patterns, such as northwest flow through the lakes coming ashore.”

What all eclipse chasers should understand is that “eclipse cooling” can cause convective clouds to dissipate.

Good choices

Anderson’s conclusion is that lower elevations and a position on the south side of the larger lakes will give a greater probability of sunlight on the day of the eclipse. Anderson also reveals some useful details. “Rochester is definitely a good choice, Buffalo is not a bad choice, but Niagara Falls is a little iffy — it’s a good location, but there are potentially better places around the corner,” Anderson said. “On the other hand, if there is a weather system coming out, then places further north and west will be the first to go.”

This is all based on the weather, but attention will turn to actual weather forecasts in early April. Lake Erie, Cleveland, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Rochester and Lake Ontario will all be important locations for eclipse viewing, but which will be best? Fortunately, Interstate 90 runs parallel to Lake Erie between Toledo, Ohio and Syracuse, New York – all within the path of totality – passing through all major cities and destinations. Just don’t expect there to be no traffic on the morning of April 8th.

Where to Experience Totality on Lake Erie (USA)

“Lake Erie will be a beautiful spot, so watch the eclipse,” said eclipse expert Jay Ryan, former contributing editor to Sky and telescope magazine, which runs Eclipse Over Cleveland, in an interview. He plans to be at Edgewater Park, near the city on the shore of Lake Erie. “It is an open body of water, as far as the eye can see in all directions, and I hope to see what the moon’s umbral shadow looks like over the lake.” Visit Cleveland has a handy hub for the 2024 Solar Eclipse, with notable options including Lake Erie Nature & Science Center and Total Eclipse Fest 2024, Great Lakes Science Center (NASA event – ​​expect crowds!).

Other options include Shores & Islands in Ohio and many, many others:


Lake Avon, Bay View, Berlin Heights, Birmingham, Castalia, Catawba, Cleveland, Elmore, Fremont, Genoa Township, Huron, Kelleys Island, Lakeside: Total Solar Eclipse Celebration, Lorain: Total Solar Eclipse, Marblehead, Middle Bass Island, Milan , North Bass, Norwalk, Oak Harbor, Port Clinton: The Park Goes Dark-Solar Eclipse Watch Party, Put-in-Bay: A Monumental Eclipse, Sandusky County, Toledo Solar, Vermilion.


Erie, Elk Creek Beach, Avonia Beach, Walnut Creek Beach, Cranch Park, Shorewood Beach, Freeport Beach.

new York

Dunkirk, Ripley Beach, Brookside Beach, Lake Erie State Park, Sunset Bay Beach, Evangola State Park, Lake Erie Beach Park, Buffalo Municipal Bathing Beach, Buffalo Harbor State Park

MORE FROM FORBESOhio’s Ultimate Guide to April’s Total Solar Eclipse

Where to Experience Totality on Lake Ontario (USA)

“I’ll be in a lovely spot on Lake Ontario called Fair Haven Beach State Park,” said Dr. Tyler Nordgren, Ithaca, New York-based astronomer, author of Sun Moon Earth and eclipse artist at Space Art Travel Bureau, in an interview . “It seems like facing Lake Ontario offers a slightly better chance of clear skies this time of year.”

Here are dozens of places to view the eclipse from the shores of Lake Ontario:

New York State

  • Fort Niagara State Park
  • Four Mile Creek State Park
  • Wilson-Tuscarora State Park
  • Niagara County Krull Park
  • Barker Bicentennial Park
  • Golden Hill State Park (Thirty Mile Lighthouse)
  • Lakeside State Park, Waterport
  • Lake View Park, Kent
  • Braddock Bay Bird Observatory, Hilton
  • Braddock Bay Park, Rochester
  • Ontario Beach Park, Rochester (Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse)
  • Peace Sign Garden Durand Eastman Park, Rochester
  • Webster County Park, Rochester
  • Beechwood State Park, Sodus
  • Sodus Point Beach Park, Sodus
  • Chimney Bluffs State Park, Huron
  • Breitbeck Park, Oswego
  • Mexico Point State Park, Mexico
  • Sandy Island Beach State Park, Pulaski
  • Lakeview Wildlife Management Area, Henderson
  • Southwick Beach State Park
  • Black Pond Wildlife Management Area
  • Robert G. Wehle State Park, Henderson
  • Long Point State Park – Thousand Islands, Point Peninsula, Chaumont Bay
  • Ashland Flats Wildlife Management Area, Chaumont

For the latest information on all aspects of the April 8 total solar eclipse in North America, check my main feed for new articles every day.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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