☁️ Cloudy with a chance of eclipse
- 6 min read

☁️ Cloudy with a chance of eclipse

Plus, the 6-figure salary our new city manager will get. 👀


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☀️ Heya, Austin.

Everyone's thinking about it: What happens if we can't see the eclipse through cloudy weather on Monday? Find out why it'll still be neat.

Then, peep what City Council talked about yesterday and catch up on four stories you may have missed this week.

If it's cloudy during the eclipse, don't freak out.

We are T-minus three days away from the biggest thing Austin's seen since the OG South Congress H-E-B closed: a total solar eclipse.

On Monday, the moon will pass between the sun and the Earth, casting its shadow along a path that will cross the Lone Star State. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible in Central Texas was more than 600 years ago in 1397, and the region won’t see another one until 2343 (when we're all dead).

Now, the barometric pressure is ON for meteorologists to nail down the best forecast for optimal viewing because cloud cover can make or break your plans to view this once-in-a-lifetime eclipse.

Any cloudiness will kind of spoil the show, especially if you are taking photos. There are different types of clouds possible, each of which would have its own effect on your chances of viewing the eclipse, according to the National Weather Service. 

High cirrus clouds can block the sun, which means your coveted front-row seat could be ... well ... useless. However, a veil of high clouds is often transparent and can allow some aspects of the eclipse to still be visible.  

Low cumulus or stratus clouds are common in Texas during the spring because of large storm complexes that bring strong thunderstorms and heavy rain. Usually, if we have a blanket of low clouds in the morning, they will break up by lunchtime, which would be perfect timing for this eclipse. Fingers crossed.

However, Mother Nature is throwing us a curveball for this once-in-a-lifetime event. This weekend, a weak frontal system will move across Texas with scattered rain and storms on Saturday night into Sunday morning. The front is forecast to stall out along the Texas coast and drift north on Monday. 

So will all be lost if it’s cloudy?

“If it’s fully cloudy, one may still experience the darkness and the changes, though the ring and the complete covering of the sun will not be as clearly visible,“ said Dev Niyogi, a professor in the Earth and planetary sciences department at the University of Texas. “It just depends on how dense the cloud cover is because (even with) some light cloud cover, one could still experience the whole eclipse.”

Even if Monday turns out cloudy, some other cool things can happen. For example, the temperatures could drop as much at 10 degrees, and streetlights may come on during those few minutes of totality. The light will dim and you may be surrounded by a 360-degree sunset.  Animals also may act as if it's dusk, like birds going to roost, crickets chirping, dogs barking and other animals preparing for the night. 

If the skies are clear enough, another amazing celestial sight you’ll be able to witness are the stars and planets in the sky during totality.

“Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Mars all line up with the eclipse, but you’ll only have a few minutes to see it if you are in the zone of totality,” said Saul Rivera, public program specialist at UT’s McDonald Observatory. 

UT’s astronomy department also is reminding the public to look down during the event. Sunlight shining through pinholes, such as the space between tree leaves, will project the eclipse, which will appear as a crescent shape, onto the ground.

Also, look around on white surfaces, like the side of a building or a car, and you may see “shadow bands,” which are rippling waves of light and darkness that shimmer or twinkle right before totality. 

McDonald Observatory and UT representatives will attend these eclipse events in Austin, which is in the path of totality, where viewers can see the sun entirely obscured by the moon:

Buckle up, buttercups. It's almost here.

— Mary Wasson, Meteorologist

Temperature: 84 degrees | Sun: At attention | What to Expect: Breezy south winds

Aaaaahhhh … if only we could bottle this weather up for the eclipse on Monday, am I right? We’ll see lots of sunshine with balmy south winds. Today deserves a chef’s kiss.

Mary’s Tip: I would head out to Loro on South Lamar to enjoy some grade-A barbecue and beer on the patio.

City Council business: Big bucks for the new city manager

Theme of Thursday’s meeting: Get parked cars out of Austin’s bike lanes. 

Nearly a dozen speakers spoke in support of the city’s plans to increase protections of bike lanes by prohibiting and enforcing parking bans, which the council passed as part of its consent agenda. 

Other big news: We have a new city manager. T.C. Broadnax will start in the position on May 6. He will be paid an annual base salary of $470,017.60, according to council documents. That’s a nearly $82,000 increase from what former City Manager Spencer Cronk was being paid when he was terminated. 

What else happened?

Each of the items discussed in Wednesday’s newsletter were approved by the City Council. They include: 

  • Naming the Barton Springs bathhouse the “Joan Means Khabele Bathhouse”
  • Making plans to enroll eligible city buildings in the Austin Energy Commercial Demand Response Program
  • Directing the city manager to develop and expand community land trusts as a way to increase long-term affordable housing

4 stories you shouldn’t miss this week

🎶 Developers of new residential projects that would be built within 600 feet of venues with outdoor music permits may have to start doing sound testing to see how loud the noise would be. If the City Council OK’s it in May, developers will have to relay those noise levels to potential residents in leasing documents or other materials. If it doesn’t, might we suggest some earplugs?

📱Apple has its giant $1 billion North Austin campus in the works. But it’s also putting $4.5 million into renovating its older campus that isn’t far from the one in progress, according to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation documents. Translation: Apple and its workforce ain’t going nowhere.

🍌 Manor peeps, stand up. Y’all might be fixin’ to get an H-E-B finally. A Travis County deed filing shows H-E-B bought 63 acres of land in the town just northeast of Austin. More H-E-B’s = more happiness.

🛴 City leaders put some guardrails on scooter activity this week. There can no longer be more than 8,700 electric scooters operating in Austin and no more than 2,250 downtown specifically.

⚔️ Generation X

Today's clue is for 17 Down: What's an adjective for folks who can afford to live in Austin's Barton Creek neighborhood?

By Brooke Husic

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.