Kentucky officials are preparing for what is expected to be a population boom on August 21st. Small communities in western Kentucky anticipate hundreds of thousands of visitors to arrive for the total solar eclipse.
Only WHAS 11 was at two recent meetings in which those preparing for the best and worst looked at how their plans are progressing. Lt. Gov Jenean Hampton is leading the charge and insists Kentucky is ready.
“I believe we're ready”, she said. Obviously, you can't predict everything, you just can't, but I can tell you we've looked at a multitude of factors and we're as ready as we can be.”
Agencies in more than a dozen counties are working with the state to prepare for what's expected to be the biggest factor, traffic.
“There's no way to predict the delays but we are prepared for slowed traffic and stopped traffic”, said Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Director, Michael Dossett.
Dr. Noelle Hunter, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, "We want it to be an enjoyable experience but we also want to plan for the inevitable. We know there will be some problems, traffic problems."
Dr. Noelle Hunter, admits that traffic problems are “inevitable” especially considering that many of the communities in the eclipse path are not equipped for large numbers of automobiles. Dr. Hunter recommends those traveling to eclipse areas treat their trip like a weather event and offered this checklist:
“Bring water, food, prepare for long lines at the gas station so bring extra gas if you can”, she said. “Remember that it's going to be very hot so plan for that. Find a spot, pick it and stay there. Make sure it's near restrooms and you can easily get to those conveniences.”
Sunscreen is a smart idea too. While everyone is hoping for a sunny day, be prepared to react to severe weather. Officials are making preparations to get those in crowds to safety if Mother Nature shows her ugly side.
They're also taking steps to bring in additional cell service but you may find your smart phone useless at times which means no mapping systems. Dr. Hunter suggests you pack paper maps as well.
One of the biggest concerns for officials is that drivers may stop in the middle of roads and highways during the eclipse. While it may seem like comment sense to not do that, they’re reminding the public not to risk it when the sky goes dark.
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