Does it seem like the upcoming total solar eclipse is all anyone is talking about? Can the hype, both for the event and the number of visitors, possibly be right?
We’d like to be able to provide solid answers on what to expect in the days leading up to the event and the event itself, but the truth is there are a lot of unknowns. This event is rare and is expected to draw large crowds from all over the country. The large number of additional visitors is bound put a strain on public safety services and the travel infrastructure of the state. However, our hope is that through preparation and expectation-setting, residents and visitors can experience the solar eclipse in a safe and positive way.
In Oregon, the eclipse will begin on Monday, Aug. 21 at approximately 9:04 am and continue until approximately 11:37 am. Totality is expected around 10:16 am.
Here are a few tips, not only to be prepared in the event of an issue, but to save you a few headaches along the way.
Plan for emergencies
- Fill up your car with gas a few days in advance and keep it as full as is reasonable. Running your vehicle on empty and then getting stuck in traffic could cause a negative chain reaction.
- Similarly, visit the grocery store before the week before and stock up on supplies, particularly if there is something specific you want or need. Not only will you have what you need, it may save you from waiting in a longer line than normal.
- While this is always good practice and recommended by emergency managers everywhere, be sure to carry water and a first aid kit in your car during this time period. Snacks on hand are also a plus.
- Be prepared for cell service overloads; there could be disruptions due to the increased demand on networks. Make sure family members or friends know your schedule and your plan in case they are not able to reach you, or you them.
Protect your eyes
Often an announcement of an impending solar eclipse is followed by “never look directly at the sun.” However, there are safe viewing products that can be ordered or purchased to make viewing safe, such as cardboard glasses, wrap around glasses, SUNoculars, and Eclipse Viewers.
Items that are not safe to use for viewing include polarized sunglasses and welding masks rated lower than #14. You should also not try to view an eclipse through a telescope, binoculars, or camera lens that is not outfitted with a special lens filter for viewing eclipses.
A total solar eclipse is certainly a rare and exciting event to witness and, weather permitting, it sounds as if most residents will be able to witness at least a partial eclipse regardless of location. With a little bit of planning and patience, you can safely enjoy one of nature’s most spectacular shows.