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“Multiple Sonar Eclipse Warnings Issued: Prepare Your Supplies, Protect Your Pets, and Confirm Your Glasses” | Science & Technology Updates

School closures, pet care, and fake glasses are just three of the things that have prompted warnings ahead of Monday’s total solar eclipse.

Residents in multiple US states, as well as parts of Mexico and Canada, will be able to witness the natural phenomenon on Monday 8 April.

The first place to experience ‘totality’ – the moment when the face of the sun is completely blocked by the moon – will be Mexico’s Pacific Coast at around 11.07am local time.

The eclipse’s path will then enter the US where it will be visible across states from Texas all the way up to New York throughout the day.

As the US prepares for the astronomical event, residents have issued several warnings urging them to exercise caution when it comes to everything from pets to driving.

Expect travel disruption on the roads

Information regarding the total solar eclipse is shown on a digital billboard as drivers make their way down a busy road in Addison, Texas, Thursday, March 21, 2024. Pic: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
States such as Texas have been preparing for weeks. Pic: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

As thousands of people travel to viewing spots to get the best view of the eclipse, authorities in numerous states have warned traffic jams are likely.

In Texas – the first US state in the eclipse’s direct path – residents have been told to allow extra time for car journeys as “heavier-than-usual traffic is likely in the days before, during, and after the eclipse”.

Authorities in the Lone Star State have predicted that up to a million people could travel through Texas for the occasion.

They’ve warned people not to stop their vehicles on the motorway to view the eclipse with new signs being erected for the occasion.

Airlines running special routes

While the eclipse itself will not impact flights, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned there will be an increase in air traffic as people enjoy the event from the sky.

Airline Delta is running several special routes for the occasion, and the FAA has said regular flights could be hit by “lengthy delays during peak traffic periods”.

More from Sky News:
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Blind astronomers plan to hear the eclipse

Schools are shutting early

Hundreds of schools in numerous states will be shutting early or completely closed on Monday – mainly because of fears around traffic, staffing levels, and heavy crowds.

Others will excuse absences if parents remove their children from class, according to USA Today, while some educational establishments plan to celebrate and see the eclipse as a learning opportunity.

One school in Michigan has invited students, their families, and community members to watch the eclipse on their sports field and offer them educational material about the event.

State of emergencies declared

FILE - The moon covers the sun during a total solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in Cerulean, Ky. According to the Indiana Election Division, many county offices will be closed on the deadline for registration for the state's primary election in anticipation of the celestial event on April 8, 2024, that will shadow much of the state. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)
The US last witnessed a a total solar eclipse in August 2017. Pic: AP Photo

A number of counties and towns in the corridor of totality have tried to get ahead of the influx of visitors by declaring a state of emergencies.

The Niagara region in Canada, near the famous waterfall, has done so amid predictions that a million people could show up.

“Declaring a state of emergency… strengthens the tools the region has at its disposal to safeguard the health and safety of residents and visitors and protect our critical infrastructure in any scenario that might arise,” one statement said.

Bell County in Texas has also declared a state of emergency, and a Kerr County judge has issued a disaster declaration.

Stock up on food and water

As millions descend on cities and towns in Texas, Kentucky, Ohio, and other states, residents and tourists alike have been told to make sure they stock up on food and water before the big day.

The population in Kerr County, Texas, is expected to double or triple from its usual 53,000, and its top official previously warned residents: “Make sure your vehicles are tanked up, that you have sufficient grocery supplies, that your prescriptions are filled, and that you are stocked up on provisions for any animals in your care.”

Meanwhile, officials in Travis County have spent weeks using social media to urge residents to prepare:

Don’t look at the eclipse and drive

Pulling over to watch the eclipse on a busy road is a big no-no – as is looking at it while driving.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) has revived the slogan it used for the 2017 eclipse for the occasion and told people: “Don’t have an eclipse in judgement.”

“Don’t watch the eclipse while driving, and don’t stop on the interstate or highway shoulder,” an FHA administrator Shailen Bhatt said in a video on social media. “For those who are travelling in the path of the eclipse, remember to turn on your headlights so you will be extra visible during the darkness.

“Please, plan ahead to arrive early and, if you can, stay put to avoid traffic congestion.”

Keep a close eye on animals

From giraffes galloping to gorillas getting ready to sleep, the 2017 eclipse prompted some strange behaviors from the animal kingdom, according to one study.

Experts have suggested that these behavioral changes could be due to the sudden darkness impacting animals’ circadian rhythms, and pets such as cats and dogs could respond to the eclipse as they would fireworks or a thunderstorm.

Given that there are so few eclipses, it’s been difficult for scientists to pin down what effect it has on animals – including if the observations are just a coincidence – and this time around, NASA has asked for the public’s help in noting any changes.

Adults and children can get involved with their Eclipse Soundscapes study by collecting and inputting data on the big day.

Sunglasses aren’t good enough

Guests watch the sun re-emerge after a total eclipse at the football stadium at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 2017. Pic: Reuters
People at Southern Illinois University watch the sun re-emerge after the 2017 total eclipse. Pic: Reuters

Anyone planning to observe the eclipse must make sure they’re properly equipped, and regular sunglasses just won’t cut it.

Proper eclipse glasses are “thousands of times darker” than sunglasses according to NASA, and anyone who tries to look at the eclipse without them could suffer permanent eye damage.


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