‘Eclipse chasers’ weighing best spot to see totality on April 8th

Eclipse Chasers

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Rochester region is one week away from a total solar eclipse, and in the next few days, we’ll get a more accurate idea of just how many people may descend on our area to enjoy it with us. 

“Eclipse chasers” are people who’ve booked hotel rooms in several of the cities in the path of totality.  They wait until the week before, when they get a look at the weather forecast to actually decide where to go, and then cancel reservations in the other cities.    

“Once you have had this experience of totality, you want it again and you want to find the next place in the world and go there to have that experience again because there’s nothing like it on earth,” explains Deb Ross, the chair of the Rochester Solar Eclipse Task Force. “A serious eclipse chaser, especially a rich one, already has hotels booked in Texas, in Indiana, in Ohio, here and in Maine.”

What that means is in the last few days before an eclipse, a lot of hotel room inventory typically becomes available but it’s normally at a premium price. 

If you have family or friends who were planning a day trip for the eclipse, they may be able to find a room freed up by an eclipse chaser who canceled. But with the weather forecast looking positive, the rooms may be few and far between.  

“Looking at that forecast and hearing all of the hype all over the country, there’s going to be a lot of last minute people making their plans to come up here,” Ross predicts.

You’ve likely seen the highway signs warning drivers of heavy traffic expected on Monday, April 8th.

The people who deal with that locally have a plan.

“We’ve been mapping out where most of the folks will be coming from, explains Monroe County Emergency Manager Tim Henry. “They shared with us where their bookings are coming from. Amazingly, everywhere from Maine down to the mid-Atlantic, people will be streaming here to Rochester. So, we’re very fortunate, unlike other counties around us, we have a tremendous transportation network.”

The Monroe County Emergency Operations Center, or EOC, will be monitoring all traffic cameras closely.

“Both city leaders and county leaders will be co-located here,” explains Henry, “and then another 65 individuals will be stationed at each of the tabletop locations representing entities from [New York State Department of Transportation] at the state level, local level, law enforcement, fire, EMS, American Red Cross, RG&E, United Grid. So, anybody who has a direct effect on public safety will be here at the EOC helping us manage the day.”