The much-anticipated total eclipse is quickly approaching, with less than a month to spare. On August 21, 2017, the solar eclipse will first make landfall in Oregon before gliding over the Midwest and Southeastern United States. It is the first eclipse ever recorded to cross the United States exclusively, and one of the few total solar eclipses to even make landfall. The once-in-a-lifetime event is luring visitors from all over the world. To experience the eclipse in all its glory, Oregonians should anticipate five key things.
Millions of “Outsiders”
Between 1 and 2 million visitors are expected to arrive in Oregon just for the eclipse. Eclipse tourists from all over the country and possibly several other countries are flocking to small Oregon towns that have never before received so many tourists in a year, let alone one for one event. There will be people on the streets eager to arrive at their destination who do not know their way around town, nor are they familiar with local customs and rules of the road. Mustering up patience in anticipation of a sharp, temporary urge in the state’s population will be important to maintaining your cool and maximizing your own personal enjoyment of the eclipse.
Interstate highways are expected to overflow in the days leading up to the eclipse and on August 22, 2017. ODOT recommends avoiding major highways like I-5, US 101, and US 26, if possible. While major highways are not expected to close, traffic patterns may change to optimize traffic flow.
Oregon’s coastal cities will be the first to receive the spectacle, which is why highways leading to and up and down the coast are expected to be the most seriously congested. Avoid traveling in the path of totality and, if possible, work from home. If you happen to find yourself stuck on the highway during the couple of minutes in which the eclipse is visible, be sure to arm your car with food, water, a first aid kit, and extra gasoline. ODOT suggests viewers “arrive early, stay put, and leave late.”
Reduced or Zero Cell Service
One of the immediate effects of a rapid rise in population is the increased strain on cellular networks.