Monday marks the day of a rare celestial event - a total solar eclipse (Credit MODOT). The digital connectivity of our society has built this event to a massive scale. It will undoubtedly be a fantastic sight, but besides the shadow of the moon what else will the eclipse bring to town?
Many states and cities the of 'totality' crosses are warning of the possibilities of HUGE crowds. Missouri Department of Transportation Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger says, "We anticipate large crowds with possible heavy congestion on the interstates and major highways the weekend leading up to the event, during the event, and the day after. If you are traveling for the event, leave early, stay put as long as possible and plan to stay after the end of the eclipse to avoid the peak traffic." MODOT's website also says that approximately 200 million people are within a day's drive of the path of the eclipse. What does that mean? Well... if all 200 million of those people decide to take that day's drive to see the eclipse and they are evenly distributed among the 14 states in which the eclipse's path crosses, each state would have approximately 14.2 million people on their road systems all headed for one "path." Just for comparison - that is about the same amount of people as if you filled Busch Stadium to capacity 312 times.
How should you prepare for such crowds? Here are just a few of MODOT's recommendations:
- Have a full gas tank.
- Prepare for extra congestion, especially on interstates, on the day before, day of and day after the eclipse.
- Be aware of increased pedestrian traffic.
- Avoid travel during the eclipse or in the area of the main path if you can.
- Travel with a water bottle.
Additionally, it may be a good idea to keep a few snacks in the car also.
We hope everyone stays safe and enjoys the eclipse!