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Solar Eclipse to be Eclipsed by Bad Weather

This is a billboard in Erie, Pa., on Friday, March 22, 2024 promoting a breakfast sandwich special to coincide with the upcoming total solar eclipse that Erie will experience, with a little luck from the weather, on April 8.

Mary ManleyOn Monday, a total solar eclipse will stretch across North America. With the phenomenon not occurring again until summer 2044, those wishing to see the spectacle are willing to spend a large chunk of change to do so, even if the viewing time only last a little over four minutes.Some US hotels are dramatically raising prices and they all have one thing in common: they’re in the perfect position for viewing a total solar eclipse. But some guests may end up overpaying for an experience hampered by clouds and rain.According to a recent report, one “modest” hotel room in Saranac Lake, New York, is charging more than $600 for rooms even though their rates are normally as low as $99. A Super 8 motel in Illinois that usually charges $95 a night is charging $950 for a Sunday through Tuesday stay.Meanwhile, the cost of a two-night stay at a more prestigious hotel like the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas is currently $7,600 for April 7-9; a week later that cost will be just $1,329.Another hotel in Carbondale, Illinois, has sold out its rooms for the dates the total eclipse will be visible (April 7 and 8). The hotel said they had been sold out for “months” and also bumped up their prices in view of the high demand.And a travel agency said they had to rearrange lodging for more than 150 clients after hotel bookings they made two years earlier, at two Buffalo hotels, were canceled. Those rooms were $129 at the time and were canceled and resold for $450 or more. Chris Donnelly, the owner of Sugar Tours, said it was “total price gouging”.“Of course this was all about the profits,” Donnelly said. “I have a feeling that they never even entered our rooms into the system and just sold them and waited until 30 days prior to let us know. Thirty years in the business, have never had this happen.”Manga Hotel Group, which owns the Aloft Buffalo Airport and Hampton Inn & Suites Buffalo Airport said the room cancellations were due to a mistake of overbooking and that the canceled rooms were not resold as new reservations.AmericasUS Congresswoman Says Earthquakes, Eclipses Represent ‘Strong Signs’ From God to Repent5 April, 17:14 GMTHowever, the region’s tourism bureau shot back at the hotel group and said it “does not condone this business practice of canceling room bookings”, adding that it is “shameful that longtime customers and new visitors are being treated this way.”

“Putting greed before the visitor’s experience and the destination’s reputation is unacceptable,” said Patrick Kaler, president and CEO of the bureau Visit Buffalo Niagara.

According to an online legal forum, high prices do not always equate to price gouging. Retailers are allowed to raise the price of their products to match a supply and demand change. But price gouging is more specific to something that is an emergency, such as a pandemic or a natural disaster. US federal laws do not address price gouging, but some state laws do.Airfare has also increased to astronomical levels, with flights to Dallas-Fort Worth landing on the day of the eclipse costing $1,900. With prices like these, as much as $1 billion could be pumped into the economies of small towns stretching from Texas to Maine as tourists pay up for the celestial event. For viewing the solar eclipse, the path of totality will stretch across a 115-mile length of land that will cover the US cities of Dallas, Texas; Idabel, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; Poplar Bluff, Missouri; Paducah, Kentucky; Carbondale, Illinois; Evansville, Indiana; Cleveland, Ohio; Erie, Pennsylvania; Buffalo, New York; Burlington, Vermont; and Caribou, Maine. Montreal and the Mexican cities of Mazatlán and Torreón will also be briefly enshrouded in darkness.

However, poor weather could dampen the spirit of those hoping to view the total eclipse. For the cities of Dallas, Cleveland and Buffalo, cloudy skies are a possibility. But one meteorologist noted that clouds are “one of the most difficult weather parameters to forecast, even just a few days ahead of time.”Parts of Maine have the best chance of viewing the event with rare April temperatures peaking in the high 50s (Fahrenheit) on Monday and plenty of sun exposure. But these parts of Northern New England are the most rural and least populated, so traveling and staying in the area could be difficult.

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