St. Louis is essentially cut in half by the path of the total solar eclipse. The famous arch is just outside the zone of totality with the sun being 99.99% eclipsed. This is not enough, however. At this location, the sun will still be shining, although with very little strength, but it will still be dangerous to the naked eye. Just 3 miles away, to the southwest, the full total solar eclipse is visible, however briefly.
Eclipse Viewing Venues
In St. Louis, the total solar eclipse will only be visible for those located south of exit 16 on I-270, south of the St. Louis Zoo, or south of the Anheuser-Busch brewery. Within the city, the duration of totality is just under 30 seconds, higher for those southwest of the Arch. In fact, as eclipse viewers travel towards St. Clair on I-44, or De Soto on highway 21, the duration of totality will increase to as much as 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
There are many parks in St. Louis that would be good viewing locations. A clear view to the south is needed, away from tall buildings. At the start of totality, 1:18pm, the sun will be high in the sky. There are many opportunities for eclipse viewing within the downtown 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. Such locations as Francis Park and Jefferson Barracks Historic Park offer ample room for observers.
There is an extensive network of roads in the area, but in the city, traffic may build near noon. Congestion is very likely on the entire day of the eclipse. Travelers should arrive early and expect some difficulty when departing.
The duration of totality increases to the south of St. Louis. St. Clair and De Soto experience about 2 minutes and 40 seconds of totality and are only about 50 miles away.
Last Minute Accommodations
Those eclipse viewers arriving at the last minute may find limited accommodation options. Visitors may want to consider staying in nearby cities, 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
St. Louis 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 St. Louis is poor for eclipse viewing, other viewing opportunities may be available towards Columbia to the west or Nashville, Tennessee to the southeast.