Columbia is located at the junction of Interstate 70 and US Highway 63, about halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis. Many visitors may travel to the area since the duration of totality here is over 2.5 minutes. The population of Columbia is over 100,000 and there are full commercial services such as hotels, shopping and other services in the area. Nearby attractions include many historical pioneer sites and conservation areas.
Eclipse Viewing Venues
There are many open fields around Columbia. The city is situated in the Great Plains. At the start of totality, 1:12pm, the sun will be high in the sky. There are many opportunities for eclipse viewing in the area.
Official eclipse viewing venues may be established as August 21, 2017 nears. These may be set up to take advantage of the open spaces near the city where a large number of visitors could park.
There is a network of roads in the area, but only a few highways. Congestion is very likely on the day of the eclipse. Travelers should arrive early and expect some difficulty when departing.
Last Minute Accommodations
Those eclipse viewers arriving at the last minute may find limited accommodation options. Visitors may want to consider staying in Kansas City, or St. Louis, and driving to an eclipse viewing location. As mentioned, however, traffic congestion is likely to be heavy on the day of the eclipse.
Area Weather Possibilities
Columbia is usually sunny and dry in August. Unfortunately, thunderstorms may develop at this time of year, around the time of the eclipse. Clear weather is vital for eclipse watching. Eclipse viewers will want to monitor the local weather forecast in advance. Moving to a more suitable viewing location may be necessary if bad weather is due.
Alternate Viewing Possibilities to Counter Bad Weather
If the weather in Columbia is poor for eclipse viewing, other viewing opportunities may be available towards Kansas City to the west, St. Louis to the east and Nashville to the southeast.