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Austin, Travis County prepare safety measures ahead of April’s total solar eclipse

The city and county plan to prepare for an onslaught of tourists much the same way they would for a major festival.

ATX_solareclipse

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon completely blocks the face of the sun as it passes between the sun and earth.

Photo by Dave Pape/dpape, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

More than a million travelers are estimated to head to Texas for April’s total solar eclipse. Central Texas lies right within the path of totality, so there’s a good chance Austin will be a major hub for that tourism.

Facing a potential onslaught of visitors for the event on Monday, April 8, the City of Austin is prepping for the eclipse much like it would for a major music festival.

This includes staffing up Austin Police, Austin Fire Department, and Austin-Travis County emergency services to be on hand in case of need. Travis County also joined several other Texas counties in issuing a disaster declaration, which allows the county to:

  • Require gatherings with 50+ guests to submit information
  • Access additional emergency resources and other items, like tow trucks
  • Control and coordinate traffic

So, what does this all mean for you? We’re glad you asked.

A road blocker on the side of the road with the Austin skyline in the background

Issuing a disaster declaration allows Travis County to require information about certain eclipse gatherings and access additional emergency resources.

Photo by ATXtoday

Plan ahead

Whether you’re planning to watch the astronomical event from your own front yard or join in on one of the 25+ solar eclipse parties taking place in Central Texas, it’s good to have a plan in place.

If you’re traveling for the event, keep abreast on street closures and traffic reports. The city also encourages residents to have a communication plan in case cell towers become overloaded, and to stock up on gas, water, snacks, and first aid.

Safety first

TxDOT encourages Texans to prepare for crowded roads, keep their headlights on, and watch out for distracted drivers peering skyward during the total solar eclipse.

Speaking of, remember that it’s dangerous to look at an eclipse with your bare eyes. Find a list of safe eclipse glasses suppliers from the American Astronomical Society, or get free eclipse glasses locally, while supplies last, from:

ATX_NASAEclipse

Texans will be the first Americans to see this year’s total solar eclipse.

Graphic via NASA

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