The Latest | Spectators arrive early at Niagara Falls for the eclipse

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A total solar eclipse crossing North America on Monday will darken skies along a path through Mexico, the United States and Canada. Totality will last up to 4 minutes, 28 seconds in certain spots.

The first location in continental North America to experience totality: Mexico’s Pacific coast, at around 2 p.m. EDT. The eclipse exits continental North America on the Atlantic coast of Canada less than two hours later.

Here’s the latest:

NIAGARA FALLS, New York — The main attraction at Niagara Falls is typically the more than 750,000 gallons of water that rush over the brink every second. On Monday, it was the eclipse.

Tourists streamed into Niagara Falls State Park with wagons, strollers, coolers and chairs. Photographers’ tripods lined a railing under cloudy skies.

Synthia Nguyen and Jen Cerna from Washington, D.C., claimed a prime lawn spot along the rapids, arriving at 6 a.m. with chairs, a blanket and a tent — that they were quickly asked to take down.

They were excited that totality would last a few minutes, long enough for it to sink in.

The pair work in an ophthalmology office.

“We’re expecting a lot of calls tomorrow,” Cerna said.

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The weather isn’t looking good for a large part of the eclipse’s path. Clouds could get in the way for a stretch of the route, with the heaviest clouds expected in parts of Texas.

There are patches that may be clear. And meteorologists point out that the eclipse might still be visible if the clouds are high and thin.

The one area where clear skies are expected is northern New England through to Canada.

That area has “a pretty solid lock to be able to see the eclipse pretty crystal clear,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Cody Snell.

Fifteen U.S. states get a chance to see the full eclipse, although just a small bit of Tennessee and Michigan are included. The length of totality varies by location.

The moon’s shadow that falls on Earth follows along a path that is 115 miles wide. Practically everyone in North America will have a chance at catching at least a partial eclipse. The farther from the path of totality, the smaller the moon’s bite will be out of the sun.

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Small towns and rural communities along the eclipse path are steeling for huge crowds.

Tourism and community leaders from Texas to Maine trucked in extra fuel and port-a-potties, and urged residents and visitors to be prepared — and to be patient.

Some counties have issued disaster declarations to get extra help with policing and other aid, similar to the aftermath of severe storms.

Among them is Kerr County, located about 65 miles northwest of San Antonio, where the normal population of 53,000 is expected to double or triple.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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