States Warn People to Stock Up on Food, Water, and Fuel Before Solar Eclipse

Most people have heard of an eclipse taking place on April 8, 2024. Although an eclipse happens every 18 months or so, it’s rare that they’re visible for anyone not directly on the equator. Seeing as this one will be visible to numerous states in the U.S., officials have released a warning.

Eclipse Warning Issued

Officials are recommending stocking up on food, gas, water, and other essentials prior to the eclipse taking place. The reason for this suggestion is that countless people are planning to head to where the eclipse will be visible. As a result, officials are worried that the added population will put a strain on certain resources. Alarmingly, this includes hospitals and roadways.

When referring to an eclipse, the term ‘path of totality’ means an area that is fully covered by the moon. On the other hand, a partial eclipse, likely visible to the rest of the U.S., happens when the moon and sun aren’t perfectly aligned. The path of totality for the April 8th eclipse will start over the Pacific Ocean, heading to Mexico and moving up through Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maine.

Eclipse cycle
Photo Credit: Rick Feinberg | NASA

Traveling to View

Only 4 of the 12 states have issued warnings to their citizens regarding the early preparation for the eclipse. Texas, has issued a warning that residents should stock up on food and gas, get their prescriptions filled, and stock up on pet supplies days before the eclipse is set to take place.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s also accounts for possible travel delays, “Oklahoma is expected to receive an influx of anywhere from 17,000 to 66,000 visitors to watch the solar eclipse,” according to an Oklahoma government webpage. “The large influx of visitors to southeastern Oklahoma could overwhelm and backup the area’s road systems.” To help tackle some of these unexpected delays, the website suggests a few things for residents as well as visitors. In addition to getting errands like groceries, prescription refills, and pet food out of the way, residents and visitors should also have a reliable form of communication other than a cell phone. And visitors should check the weather conditions in advance, coming prepared.

Ohio and Indiana have also been issued eclipse warnings with Indiana expected to see around 100 million visitors hoping to catch an unobstructed view of the total eclipse. Although the other 8 states haven’t been issued the same warning they’re taking their own precautions. Many states have plans to close schools and hopes that people will “stay in one place” when possible so as to avoid the added pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Eclipse Safety

This eclipse is so popular and seemingly disruptive because it’s the first total eclipse visible in the U.S. since 2017 and will be the last until 2044. Therefore, people are flocking to where they can get the best view. Here are some tips to help make the April 8th solar eclipse more memorable and enjoyable. Safety is always a top priority, and as such, it is highly advised never to look directly at the sun, including during an eclipse.

Make sure you have a solar viewer or eclipse glasses that are not scratched or damaged and are certified ISO 12312–2 or ISO 12312–2:2015. This also applies to filters for binoculars and telescopes. Interestingly, it’s safe to remove your glasses or filters when the eclipse has reached totality, however, in the moments before and after it’s vital to have them on. Similarly, they should be in place prior to looking at or away from the sun.

If you’re enthusiastic about learning more and sharing that knowledge with others, read up on some facts about previous eclipses, factors of total vs partial eclipses, and what happens to the sun during that time.

Fun Project: A Pinhole Projector to Safely View a Solar Eclipse

A visual explanation of how to use a pinhole projector for the eclipse.
Photo Credit: ©timeanddate.com

You can also try a fun DIY project, like making a pinhole projector to safely view the eclipse.

Supplies

  • Two pieces of stiff white paper board, like plates. Plain white paper will also suffice.
  • Something to poke a small hole like a thumbtack or sewing pin.

Directions

  1. Take one sheet of paper and make a tiny hole in the middle with the thumbtack. The hole should be round and smooth.
  2. When it’s time to view the eclipse, turn your back to the sun and rest the paper without the hole on your shoulder so the Sun shines on the paper.
  3. Hold the second paper, or “screen,” at a distance to see an inverted image of the Sun being ” projected.” You can increase the size of the image by moving the “screen” closer or further away.

Play It Safe

Regardless of where you are during the eclipse the most important thing is to be safe. Plan your day around the added population, noting that driving during an eclipse can be incredibly dangerous and should be avoided when possible. Not to mention the importance of taking measures to protect eyesight. Moreover, this is a really cool event, but it doesn’t always happen. It’s a great time to make a memory with your family that will last a lifetime, so have fun with it. After all, some people have planned a trip to another state to view the eclipse with those they love.

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