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Solar eclipse darkens skies in southeast Oklahoma

Onlookers admire the solar eclipse in Heavener, Okla.
Graycen Wheeler
Onlookers admire the solar eclipse in Heavener, Okla.

Eclipse chasers could start feeling the change when the frogs started singing.

Frogs and crickets started their evening songs in the middle of the day as the skies slowly darkened during a rare solar eclipse in southeast Oklahoma.

Totality was brief but powerful, as the moon completely covered the sun, casting off a brilliant circle of white and a backdrop of the sun's corona. The air became cooler, too.

Cailyn Prather drove from Moore with her husband and two young sons to Clayton Lake State Park, just inside the path of totality.

Cloudy skies had been a worry, but they parted for the family.

“I’m glad the clouds disappeared just in time,” Prather said. “And it’s way better than seeing a partial eclipse. Nothing does it justice. You’ve got to go in person. It’s worth it.”

The path of totality completely covered McCurtain County, while partially going over Choctaw, Bryan, Atoka, Pushmataha, Latimer and LeFlore Counties.

The state was expecting a boon from the event.

"This is going to be huge for tourism and a chance to show off the Oklahoma Standard," Gov. Kevin Stitt said. "We've been preparing for months for the influx of people coming in."

State tourism officials expected anywhere from 17,000 to 66,000 travelers to watch the solar eclipse. Roads were crowded across the state, as traffic and delays grew in the hours following the celestial event.

Robby Korth joined StateImpact Oklahoma in October 2019, focusing on education reporting.
Lionel Ramos covers state government at KOSU. He joined the station in January 2024 after covering race and equity as a Report For America corps member at Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in Oklahoma City.
Logan Layden is a reporter and managing editor for StateImpact Oklahoma.
Graycen Wheeler is a reporter covering water issues at KOSU.