A rare solar eclipse will sweep across Arkansas this year and is expected to send 1.5 million people flocking to the state.
Just two total eclipses have crossed through the state since it became part of the US after the Louisiana Purchase, the first in 1834 and the second in 1918.
This year’s eclipse will pass northeast from Texarkana to Piggott on April 8 between 1.45pm and 2pm CDT.
A rare total solar eclipse is expected to send 1.5 million people flocking to Arkansas this year
The totality zone will fall northeast across the state from Texarkana to Piggott on April 8 between 1:45 and 2pm CDT
The event could temporarily increase the population of Arkansas by 50 percent
While it is shaping up to be the largest tourist attraction this year, it will only be visible for minutes at a time.
State tourism director Dalany Thomas told Axios that the event could temporarily increase the population of Arkansas by 50 percent.
The state Department of Transportation anticipates up to 1.5 million visitors. A half-million Arkansas residents are also expected to travel towards it.
Over 30,000 hotel rooms, 5,400 cabins and 6,400 RV sites fall within the eclipse’s path, excluding Airbnbs, Thomas said.
Morrilton Mayor Allen Lipsmeyer said on public affairs program AR Week that locals need to prepare as they would in an ‘ice storm.’
‘You may not be able to get out with the traffic problems,’ Lipsmeyer said.
In anticipation of the flood of travelers, the Department of Transportation has developed a traffic management plan and is working with local agencies.
A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun and all but completely obscures it.
While the Sun is around 400 times larger in diameter than the Moon, the Moon is about 400 times closer to Earth, causing them to appear roughly the same size in the sky.
During a total eclipse, the Moon just nearly covers the Sun, masking all but the corona – the outermost layer that appears as a ring of light.
A half-million Arkansas residents are also expected to travel towards the eclipse’s path
During a total eclipse, the Moon just nearly covers the Sun, masking all but the corona – the outermost layer that appears as a ring of light
The event will be visible in 11 ‘totality towns,’ with peak viewing time ranging from two to four minutes
The event will be visible in 11 ‘totality towns’ in Arkansas, with peak viewing time ranging from two to four minutes.
Clinton will spend four minutes and 14.9 seconds in the totality. The small city is home to riverwalk trails, a historic down full of local crafts, antiques and dining.
The eclipse will cross Mountain View for four minutes, 13.7 seconds. The city is nestled deep in the Ozark Mountains and home to the state’s largest craft cooperative, in addition to its plentiful options for outdoor recreation.
Hardy and Cherokee Village are both expected to spend 4 minutes, 12.1 seconds in the totality. Hardy is a preserved 1920s-era Ozark village with several bed-and-breakfast inns. By contrast, Cherokee Village is a 15,000-acre resort destination boasting two golf courses, swimming pools and a private beach.
In Heber Springs, the viewing time decreases to four minutes, 2.4 seconds. The city serves as a popular access point to Greers Ferry Lake, one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations, and the Little Red River.
Batesville will spend just over 4 minutes in the totality. This small community is home to the state’s oldest existing city historic commercial district, but new restaurants and businesses have sprung up over the years.
The eclipse will be visible in Mountain Home for under 4 minutes. The city was one of the state’s first retirement regions, with fishing resorts and hotels aplenty.
Searcy is projected to spend only 2 minutes and 55.7 seconds in the totality. The city’s claim to fame is its fishing, but there are also opportunities for climbing nearby and countless hiking trails.
The small Ozark Mountain town of Flippin will fall in the totality’s path for just two minutes and 49 seconds. The town sits just three miles west of the White River and is surrounded by vacation resorts.
The eclipse will be visible for 2 minutes and 47 seconds in Yellville, which provides access to Crooked Creek, popular for fishing and camping. The city also houses the Rush Historic District, a late 19th-century zinc mining town.
Visitors may catch a glimpse of the eclipse in Jasper during a narrow two-minute, 4.2-second window. If not, there are plenty of opportunities for activities like caving, mountain biking and horseback riding.