Total Eclipse of the Sun a Big Event!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 11:45am
Tami L. Johnson

 An exciting and rare event is about to take place! -- A total eclipse of the Sun.  This occurs when the Moon completely blocks the visible solar disk from view, casting a shadow on Earth.  The 70-mile-wide shadow path of the eclipse, known as the “Path of Totality,” will travel through the country diagonally.  It will first appear in Oregon during the mid-morning time frame and then will exit around 90 minutes later off the coast of South Carolina (mid-afternoon local time).

We learn that a total solar eclipse provides us with the only chance to see the Sun’s corona, its extended outer atmosphere, without specialized instruments.

Millions of people in the United States hope to view this amazing and rare event which has not been seen on U.S. mainland since 1979.  We are told that the eclipse will travel a narrow path across the entire country for the first time since 1918.  The path will run west to east from Oregon to South Carolina and will include portions of 14 states.

If you’re thinking of taking a road trip to catch the action the closest location would be Southeastern Idaho.  Here, the eclipse will pass through around 11:35 a.m. on Monday, August 21st. For about 2 minutes portions of Southeastern Idaho and Western Wyoming will experience “Totality.”

From an article, sponsored by the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, we understand that, “Potentially up to 500,000 people will come to southeast Idaho to view the eclipse. Idaho Falls, Driggs, Rigby and Rexburg Idaho are prime viewing areas.  Jackson, Wyoming will see a massive influx as well.”

We also learn that visitors, from all over the world, will likely make their way into the area beginning Thursday August 17th and throughout the weekend.

Here are some guidelines from Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center:

Be Aware and Stay Safe!

*Cell phones may not work due to high usage demand. Know the area you are heading and, if possible, print off a map in case your cell service is down. 

*First responders and medical personnel along with law enforcement will work hard to ensure safety of those in attendance. However, with the large influx of people you need to expect the response times may be somewhat slower.

*Only use 911 in an event of an emergency.  If you are unable to call 911 on your cell phone, find the nearest landline such as in a grocery store, gas station, restaurant or other established business.

*Print out a map to Idaho Falls’ only ER at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and save the location to your phone.

Be Prepared!

*Make advanced dinner reservations or pack a cooler before leaving town

*Bring cash. ATM’s may run out due to the demand or may be inaccessible if internet access is limited. 

*Fill your gas tank as soon as you arrive at your destination

*Store bottled water and food in your vehicle for long traffic delays or an emergency

*Tune into local radio stations instead of satellite radio for important emergency updates

Traffic

*There will, most likely, be thousands of visitors from the Wasatch Front. We are told to keep in mind that travel time could extend from the normal 3-3 ½ hours to far more.

*Rural communities may have limited access to roads

Fire Safety

*August is Idaho’s peak fire season.  Be very careful with cigarettes, campfires, and parking on dry grass.

*Burn bans may be in effect.  Check www.idahofireinfo.com for more details on fire restrictions.

During the Eclipse

*Special eclipse viewing glasses are the only safe way to view the eclipse.  Do not drive if you are experiencing impaired vision.

*Be very considerate of any private property and all signs.  Please do not block gates or driveways and always make sure emergency vehicles can pass through. 

Most of all enjoy the experience!  It only happens once in a “Blue Moon!” 

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