State-by-state flight of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse

By Jeff Haniewich - Chief Meteorologist

People use special glasses to look into the sky at a partial solar eclipse near the Brandenburg Gate on March 20, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

ROANOKE, Va. - This highly talked about and highly anticipated total solar eclipse first becomes visible on U.S. soil near Newport and Madras, Oregon, at around 10:15 a.m. PDT (1:15 p.m in Roanoke). 

When it arrives, these folks will get close to two minutes of totality. 

Then the eclipse heads to Salem, Oregon -- the first of five state capitals the total solar eclipse visits -- around 10:17 a.m. (1:17 p.m. in Roanoke).

From Oregon, it heads to Idaho. Idaho Falls is in the path at 11:33 a.m. (1:33 p.m. in Roanoke), as is the Snake River Valley.  Climatology tells us this could be among the safest places to see the eclipse because it is usually dry and clear in mid-August.

Montana comes next, but in Montana, it really doesn’t go through any notable, well-known cities or towns as most of the area crossed are uninhabited.

Next in line: Wyoming. 

It will travel through the southern part of Grand Teton National Park.  Some are saying that this could be one of the best places to see it because of the park setting.  More than two minutes of totality will occur at 11:35 a.m. (1:35 p.m. in Roanoke).  Then Casper, Wyoming, will also be in totality for more than two minutes.

From Montana to Nebraska: North Platte, Nebraska, is in the path for just under two minutes, as are the Sandhills of western Nebraska. Even the state capital, Lincoln, will be in totality for more than two minutes.

The northeastern part of Kansas is next, but only for a short amount of time. The biggest city to be in totality in Kansas is Leavenworth.

Quickly, it heads into Missouri and stays there for a longer period of time. It gets close to Kansas City and St. Louis, but only a partial eclipse. Areas like St. Joseph and Columbia are right along the center path, getting more than two minutes and 30 seconds of totality after 1 p.m. (2 p.m. in Roanoke).  Even the state capital of Jefferson City is in the path of totality.

Then into southern Illinois it goes. Southern Illinois University in Carbondale will get more than two minutes and 30 seconds of totality at 1:20 p.m. (2:20 p.m. in Roanoke).  There is going to be a watch party on the campus and it actually has its own website:

Crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky, Paducah, Kentucky, will have totality for more than two minutes at 1:22 p.m. (2:22 p.m. in Roanoke), but people in Louisville and Lexington will only see a partial eclipse as they will be too far away from the actual path.

From Kentucky into Tennessee, the largest city along the path of the eclipse, Nashville, will see close to two minutes totality at 1:27 p.m. (2:27 p.m. our time).  Murfreesboro is also along the center line.  Chattanooga and Knoxville are not in the path, but areas in between are! Cleveland and Athens and other areas along I-75 are in totality for a bit. 

From Tennessee into extreme northeast parts of Georgia, Atlanta is not in totality, but if you head a little more than an hour north, you will be! 

Toccoa, Georgia, is in totality for a little more than two minutes around 2:35 p.m. Clayton, Georgia, is also along the path of totality.

Then onto the Carolinas. Although Asheville, North Carolina, is not in the path of totality, like Atlanta, it’s close!

The western part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is in totality, as are towns like Bryson City and Murphy. 

The landscape of this area is beautiful enough, but it will be made even prettier by this remarkable sight!

South Carolina is the final stop for the eclipse.  At 2:36 p.m., the shadow of the Great American Eclipse reaches the Palmetto State. 

Greenville, South Carolina, is in totality for more than two minutes at 2:38 p.m.  The state capital of Columbia is next in line for a little less than two minutes and 30 seconds. 

The last large city to see the eclipse will be Charleston, South Carolina. The last folks to see the shadow in the U.S. will be those in McClellanville at around 2:50 p.m. 

From there the total solar eclipse continues into the Atlantic Ocean. Once it leaves the United States, it will no longer go over any more land.  It will cease to exist about an hour and 15 minutes after leaving the U.S, going away close to Africa. 

When all is said and done, it will travel farther over water than it does land.

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