Stock Up On Food, Water, And Fuel Ahead Of The Eclipse, Emergency Officials Warn

Lorain County Emergency Management (EMA) in Ohio have issued a warning to eclipse watchers and locals to the path of totality to stock up on food, water, and fuel ahead of the total eclipse on April 8, with an influx of visitors to the area expected.

The last total solar eclipse over the US was pretty spectacular, as anyone who saw it will attest. Looking at the photos, it’s hard to imagine how the sight could have been improved upon in the eclipse taking place next month.

But if we are lucky and the weather is fine, we could be in for something special, as the eclipse coincides with the solar maximum.

“In 2017, the Sun was nearing solar minimum. Viewers of the total eclipse could see the breathtaking corona – but since the Sun was quiet, streamers flowing into the solar atmosphere were restricted to just the equatorial regions of the star. The Sun is more magnetically symmetrical during solar minimum, causing this simpler appearance,” NASA explains

“During the 2024 eclipse, the Sun will be in or near solar maximum, when the magnetic field is more like a tangled hairball. Streamers will likely be visible throughout the corona. In addition to that, viewers will have a better chance to see prominences – which appear as bright, pink curls or loops coming off the Sun.”

The eclipse should be visible from Mexico to Canada. The path of totality – the area where people will see a total solar eclipse – is wider than in 2017 too, as the Moon is closer to Earth due to where it is in its orbit, meaning more people will see the Sun’s corona.

“With lucky timing, there could even be a chance to see a coronal mass ejection – a large eruption of solar material – during the eclipse,” NASA added.

As always with eclipses though, there are safety concerns. Last time, there was a concerning spike in Google searches related to what happens if you look directly at the Sun, shortly after the eclipse took place. 

There are logistical problems too in the form of a huge influx of tourists hoping to see the celestial event, which areas along the path of totality are currently getting ready for. Lorain County officials, for example, have put out a warning that as people arrive ahead of the eclipse there could be increased traffic, increased wait time for services such as hospitals and gas stations, as well as difficulty accessing food and other supplies. 

“What we could have is crowds here that we’re not used to,” said Dave Freeman, Lorain County EMA director, in a statement seen by USA Today. “We’re not set up infrastructure-wise for that, we don’t have the roads.”

“A lot of the roads here are two lanes,” Freeman added, per Yahoo News. “This is not Chicago, this is not Cleveland, where we have a bunch of four-lane, six-lane roads coming in so the traffic could be pretty extreme here if we get crowds more than we expect.”

The EMA is also warning that cell phone signal could be lost due to the increase in cell phone activity in the area overloading the system. The team is warning residents that in the weekend ahead of the eclipse, they should fill their vehicles with gas, stock up on food, and avoid other travel where possible.

More importantly, you should look up and enjoy the eclipse, of course minimizing the risk of damage to your eyes by checking out our handy guide to viewing eclipses safely first.

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