🌚 1.7 minutes & deadly driving
Map: Ken Ellis/Houston Chronicle | Source: Great American Eclipse
- 6 min read

🌚 1.7 minutes & deadly driving

Plus, welcome to Austin pothole fixin' season, folks.

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Introduction

☀️ Mornin', Austin.

No April Fools' Day jokes from us today. We've got your back.

Not a joke, though: The total solar eclipse everyone's been talking about for forever is one week away. We lay out four illuminating numbers that you should know.

Then, why we're currently in pothole season. And what we know about Austin-founded Alamo Drafthouse reportedly being up for sale.


Let's get this eclipse party started

A week from today, millions of Texans and out-of-staters will be waking up and preparing to witness a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence: the total solar eclipse. 

And I, for one, have been waiting my whole life to be in the path of a total eclipse. To help get you prepared and excited, here are four numbers to know:

1 minute, 42 seconds —  How long totality will last in Austin during the total solar eclipse 

In other words, this is how long the city will be bathed in darkness.

However, that’s just an average. Depending on where you are in the city, you could be in darkness for close to 3 minutes or just miss out on totality entirely.

Pro tip: The farther west you are, the longer totality will last, but as you move southeast, the time will drop off. 

Plus, if you’re near Town Lake, keep an eye out for the bats

31% — The increase in fatal U.S. traffic wrecks during the 2017 eclipse, according to a recent study

As that figure shows, things got a little dicey over the three days surrounding the eclipse that year, compared to the same three days the week before and the week after. 

It’s estimated nearly 20 million people in the U.S. traveled away from home during that eclipse. Nearly 200 million are expected to travel for next week’s eclipse. 👀

So, let's all agree to be a little more patient than usual if we're leaving home next Monday. It's basically guaranteed that if you’re on the road that day, you’re going to be stuck in traffic (which just means it’s a great time to listen to Willie).

0 seconds — How long you should spend looking at the sun before the moment of totality

Seriously, don’t risk it. It might be tempting, but it can result in lasting damage to your vision.

Need more proof? This New York Times article should scare you into wearing those fancy shades. Plus, you can get commemorative Austin-themed eclipse glasses at Visit Austin.

And the good news is you don’t have to wear the glasses during totality, when only the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, will be visible. 

68% — The occupancy rate for hotels across Austin the weekend of the eclipse 

Downtown’s occupancy rate for Saturday through Monday night is even higher at 77%, said Visit Austin’s Wesley Lucas. Plus, the average daily rate is also about 48% to 58% higher than it was this time last year, she said. 

Right now it’s hard to say exactly how much of that occupancy is related to the eclipse and how much is attributable to the CMT Awards, which are being held in Austin on Sunday. The average eclipse watcher is usually a more budget-conscious traveler, Lucas explained, typically preferring to stay in limited-service hotels, campgrounds or short-term rentals with large groups. 

Still, the Perryman Group, an analyst firm in Waco, has estimated the Austin area can expect to see nearly $75 million in direct spending over the weekend and a total economic impact of $200 million. Of course, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the area, so it’s hard to compare it to any historical events to formulate predictions about what will happen next week.

Where will you be during the eclipse?

We here at Austin Daily will each be taking in the eclipse from a different location inside and just outside of Austin — at home, downtown, Pedernales Falls State Park.

But I'd love to know: How do you plan to observe the celestial dance next week? Hit reply or send me an email at cat.delaura@austindaily.com.

Cat DeLaura, Reporter


Temperature: 87 degrees | Sun: Hidden | What to Expect: Scattered thunderstorms

It’s not an April Fools' Day joke: We’ll be close to 90 degrees. Breezy south winds will blow in ahead of a cold front that will bring us a chance of scattered rain and thunderstorms.

Mary’s Tip: Want a good laugh? Head downtown to The Creek and The Cave Comedy Club to see comedian Dave Jay at 8 p.m.


Pothole fixin' season starts ... NOW

No one likes a spilled Whataburger Dr Pepper in the car. Thanks to those pesky potholes, though, it's a common occurrence (guilty 🤚).

You might gripe about the city’s street maintenance, but the real culprit is our wild Texas weather.

Did you know road cracks, buckled pavement and potholes regularly form in the spring months? Thanks to Austin’s warmest year on record in 2023, a milder and wetter winter than normal and significant temperature swings, the city’s pavement has taken a severe beating. 

During Austin’s typical freezes, like the one we had in January, water seeps into the cracks in the road only to freeze and expand when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, putting tension on the asphalt.

The following day, when the sun comes out, the ice melts, and the pavement and asphalt contract, leaving gaps and massive holes in the road where the water can get trapped. If the water freezes and thaws over and over, the pavement will weaken and crack.

In the spring, with additional rain, the cracks over time can grow into potholes that can cause serious damage to your vehicle.  

So the city of Austin's Transportation and Public Works Department plans road maintenance every year from April to October.

A handy map that shows which streets are getting maintenance. Source: City of Austin

One treatment they perform is called sealcoating, which is like brushing your teeth or changing your car's oil. That kind of protective coating helps prevent the pavement from deteriorating and helps the roads last longer.

And subsequently results in fewer spilled Dr Peppers in your car. #Winning

— Mary Wasson, Meteorologist


3 things to know about Alamo Drafthouse's reportedly being up for sale

Yep, you read that right. Sources told Deadline that the cinema chain, which was founded in Austin, is looking to sell.

Why? No idea. Alamo Drafthouse didn’t respond to us right away.

But here’s what we do know:

  1. The company wasn’t doing badly by any means. It raked in $134 million in box office sales in 2023. That’s a 25% jump from 2022. For comparison, U.S. box office sales as a whole jumped 22% from 2022 to 2023. So Alamo did better than that.
  2. But don’t forget about the company’s brush with bankruptcy. Thanks a lot, Covid. Still, Alamo made it out alive in June 2021 and even opened five new theaters. 
  3. We don’t know how much Alamo’s trying to sell for. And there aren’t any bidders yet, either, Deadline said. 

So why does this matter to you? Well, depending on who buys Alamo, a change of hands like this could always alter things about a company.

And we don’t know about y’all, but we don’t want anyone messing with our favorite eat-and-drink-as-you-watch movie chain. No sirree.


Were so glad you found us. Find our bios and contact info here, or reach out at hello@austindaily.com. Behind todays send: Katie Canales, Cat DeLaura and Mary Wasson.