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Effects of the eclipse will still be seen — even if it's cloudy

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Much of Central Texas will see the total solar eclipse in exactly one week, but the biggest lingering question is will the weather cooperate for all the people living in Austin and traveling here?

Vin Taylor and his fiancée Shannon Kaestle live in the Denver area and will arrive in Austin on Sunday, a day before the eclipse. They booked their flights about five months ago and plan to stay with friends while they're visiting to catch a rare glimpse of the moon completely covering the sun.

"I saw the previous total solar eclipse over the U.S. in 2017. I did a road trip for that, and that really just blew me away," Taylor said, adding how meaningful it will be to see it again with his fiancée. "I was in tears when I saw totality happen, so I really want to recapture that and see another eclipse. I think it'll be just as magical."

He said he'll watch the forecast carefully once he gets to Austin because that will guide him on where he'll go to take in the eclipse. KXAN Meteorologist Kristen Currie said that's a good plan for everyone since the conditions are still unclear a week out.

"This is going to be a fluid and fluctuating forecast, especially because there's a lot of eyeballs on just that five-minute window," Currie said. "We'll know more as we get closer, but also start thinking of a plan B. Think of okay, if it's cloudy here in Austin, where can I go next, just in case. It's never going to be a bad thing to be extra prepared in an event like this."

She said even if the skies are cloudy next Monday, people who stay in Austin to view the eclipse will see the city go from day to night during totality.

"You might not be able to see the eclipse — that black hole, that moon covering up the sun with your special glasses, but everything is still gonna get dark," Currie explained. "We still anticipate those outdoor automatic lights to turn on. You're still going to notice things like a temperature drop and the wind settling down or maybe even some of the bugs, the mosquitoes and the crickets coming out, the animals acting a little odd they because they think it's nighttime, right? But as far as the forecast goes, all it takes is one little gap in the clouds to be able to see it, but everything else you'll be able to experience even if it is cloudy."

Eclipse tourists are hopeful there's a sunny outlook with the weather, but travel expert Katy Nastro with Going.com is warning people to think twice before making a last-minute flight change to a different destination with potentially better conditions.

"Making any type of major adjustments based on whether to sort of up your chances of being able to view the eclipse in its entirety might be costly, even more so than it already is," Nastro said.

She added this upcoming eclipse may lead to one of the most highly-traveled events in American history. She described flights to Mexico and Texas, though, as some of the most popular destinations because many assume they're more likely to be sunny on April 8.

"There's a lot of opportunity to go elsewhere, so if you are looking at a particular city that has no hotel rooms, no accommodation available, and prices for that specific city to fly into are quite high," Nastro said, "we've been recommending to sort of look at a city adjacent to the path about two and a half to three hours away that you can drive into and out of and not necessarily have to deal with the amount of crowds that are going to be at those major metropolitan areas."

For many Texas cities, totality will last for nearly five minutes. A radar base north of Eagle Pass will have the longest period of totality in the state at four minutes and 26 seconds. Fredericksburg will have the second-longest amount of time in the dark at four minutes and 23 seconds. That's followed up by Marble Falls at four minutes and 13 seconds, while Austin will experience much less time in the dark at an expected one minute and 40 seconds.

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