Statewide Emergency Declared In Indiana Ahead Of Solar Eclipse

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Apr 04, 2024 - 11:45 AM

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a statewide emergency due to a large influx of visitors to his state to view the total solar eclipse on April 8.

A total solar eclipse on April 8 will begin over Mexico's Pacific coast, then move through Texas and Oklahoma, crisscross the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and New England, before exiting over eastern Canada into the Atlantic. (AP Photo)

The Republican official said that the number of visitors to Indiana may strain the state’s communications, transportation, and emergency response systems, warranting the need for the declaration. Indiana includes some of the best locations in the United States to see the eclipse, according to a map of the path of totality.

“The massive number of people viewing this event in our state may well stress and/or interfere with first responder and public safety communications and emergency response systems such that a technological or other emergency may occur,” Mr. Holcomb said in a statement last week, adding that the declaration was issued as a precaution to bring in emergency resources from other states.

His order noted that the eclipse “will pass directly over the state of Indiana, giving everyone in our state an incredible view of this extremely rare event.” The order stated that the last time a total solar eclipse passed over the state was in 1869. After the event on April 8, the next one is not expected to occur for about another 75 years.

“It is of primary importance to the state of Indiana to be prepared to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public during this event and to be prepared to swiftly and effectively respond to any emergency that may arise,” the order continued.

The state’s capital and largest city, Indianapolis, is located in the eclipse’s path of totality, local media reported.

Officials in other U.S. states have issued advisories or warnings ahead of the astronomical event. Authorities in Ohio’s Summit County, for example, advised residents to “stay home” due to traffic congestion by an expected influx of viewers, while officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation warned that crowd sizes could be massive in some areas.

Crowds of 100,000 to 200,000 are expected to come to the prime viewing area in southern Illinois,” the Illinois agency said. “All roads in and out of the area are expected to have heavy congestion in the couple hours after the eclipse.”

Texas Emergencies

Multiple counties in Texas declared emergencies due to the upcoming April 8 total solar eclipse due to potentially heavy traffic and gridlock.

On Monday, the Bosque County Office of Emergency Management declared a state of emergency due to heavy traffic and will authorize the county to take “any actions necessary to promote life, safety and critical infrastructure protection.”

The population of Bosque County is expected to significantly increase because “tens of thousands of visitors” may travel to the area to view the eclipse, possibly straining local resources and fuel supplies, officials said. Traffic congestion is expected, triggering the emergency declaration because “extraordinary measures must be taken to ensure the protection of public health, safety and welfare of Bosque County residents and visitors.”

Last week, Kaufman County Judge Jakie Allen issued a disaster declaration due to the “projected and expected number of visitors” in the area. County officials have said that some 200,000 people may visit the county to view the eclipse.

“The dramatic increase in population, even for a short time, will greatly impact our public safety agencies, taxing their ability to respond to calls,” county officials said.

Travis County, which includes the capital of Austin, issued a similar declaration last month due to the anticipated crowd sizes, said Judge Andy Brown. He said the population of the county could potentially double in the days surrounding the total eclipse.

“It’s super exciting to see this once-in-a-lifetime event,” the official said. “What makes it different is that it is a natural phenomenon, and we can’t control the weather around it. So there’s a lot of variables that we just can’t control for.”

According to the Dallas Morning News, the Texas Hill Country may be one of the best spots to view the eclipse in the United States.

But a significant influx of tourists may “cause extreme traffic congestion on our roadways, place an enormous strain on our first responders and hospital systems, drain our food and fuel supplies and strain our city and county infrastructure to, quite possibly, overcapacity,” Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly said last month.

Niagara Falls

Meanwhile, last week, a state of emergency was declared in the Canadian Niagara Falls region, adjacent to the city of Niagara Falls in New York state, due to traffic and crowd sizes.

The city is also in the path of totality, which will receive no solar rays for a few minutes on April 8 as the moon blocks the sun. Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said in March that he expects the most visitors his city has ever seen in a single day.

In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul warned travelers in the state to expect high amounts of traffic as several eclipse-viewing events will be held. She said that lane closures and construction will be halted ahead of the astronomical event.