Life with Connor the Weatherman

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featuring Connor Mockett

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another week of Life with Connor the Weatherman! This week I’d like to talk about our adventure here in New Brunswick with the solar eclipse on April 8th. I talked about it in my previous column explaining what would happen, now it’s time to talk about our day and where we went for the eclipse.

Of course, with everywhere that was available to see the eclipse even partially, it was a hugely hyped up day. People were off work early or just off entirely, schools were out early, millions upon millions of people traveling to see a once in a lifetime event. That hype was ten times more crazy in areas where the path of totality was going through. Here in Moncton, the City was just outside the path of totality, so much so that you could’ve driven 5 minutes out of the City and been in the path of totality. It was about 99% for Moncton.

So, with that in mind, the traffic in Moncton was absolutely insane. People on HWY 15/11 going north out of Moncton to get into totality, people going north on regular county roads to get into totality, generally people going north any which way they could find. Thankfully, I was going to a town a little less known, off the highways and only accessible through a couple of county roads as it is generally just surrounded by forest. I scouted out the path of totality in New Brunswick and found this spot, Rogersville, New Brunswick. Considering it’s generally in the middle of nowhere, surely it won’t be busy right?

Well, if you thought it wouldn’t be busy (me), you’d be horribly wrong. Immediately after getting on County Road 128 to go north for a one hour drive, I was in a long line of traffic. Of course, considering the time that I was on that road (3:00pm), there’s only one thing that traffic could be on that road for. Yes, the eclipse. We followed in that line until we got to Rogersville, and along that road, we saw more and more people parked in some pullouts, people in their laneways in chairs, you name it. Then we got into Rogersville itself, and there was absolutely zero parking anywhere. If there was a parking spot somewhere, it was taken. People were absolutely everywhere, it was like a party.

As soon as I saw that, I started to use one of my storm chasing techniques: looking at Google Maps satellite view to try to find secluded areas. I ended up finding one relatively quickly, a small paved road that I thought would bring me to another small road, with some fields for visibility. I got down that road and all of a sudden there was a little dirt cul-de-sac. The road ended and turned into an unmaintained ATV trail type of thing. Wish Google Maps would have told me that one!

However, that little cul-de-sac actually turned out to be fantastic. I parked the car, turned it off, got out, and just listened. Shhh, do you hear that? Yeah, me neither. It was completely quiet. No one was around, I was the only vehicle to go down that road. So we sat there, put our glasses on, took some photos, and waited for totality. By the way, those glasses were super cool for my eyes and my camera. Multi-purpose! We watched the partial eclipse get closer to being total for about 20-25 minutes, and then it happened.

The daylight turned to darkness insanely fast. I wasn’t quite expecting it to be so fast, actually. It was mere seconds. You could actually see the light shuttering across the ground, which is hard to explain, but I promise you that it was the coolest thing I have ever seen. We were in an area without any street lights or anything, so it got quite dark for us. The white ring around the sun with the purple/red sun flares on the bottom of the sun was so otherworldly. If you have a chance to ever experience a total solar eclipse in your life, you have to do it. I promise it’s worth it, no matter where it is. It’s so hard to explain the experience of actually seeing the totality, because it was so amazing that words don’t really articulate how amazing it was. You have to see it to believe it.

As quickly as the daylight turned to darkness, darkness turned back to daylight after about three and a half minutes. Again, you could see the light on the ground shuttering back in as the light was changing so fast. And just like that, it was like it had never even happened. Photos were taken, good times were had, and we had an experience to tell stories about for the rest of our lives.

Slight tip though, if you ever get to experience a total solar eclipse: don’t have to rush home afterwards, the line of traffic will be about 50 km long with every single person going under the speed limit.

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