Solar Eclipse Deploys National Guard To Deal With 100,000 People

By Robert Scucci | Published

solar eclipse

It’s not uncommon for events with large turnouts to require heightened security, which is exactly why the state of Oklahoma will be deploying its National Guard to help with crowd control during the upcoming total solar eclipse. The solar eclipse will occur on April 8, and the city of Idabel is among 13 of the best locations to witness this celestial spectacle. Idabel, which is located in McCurtain County, stands to be overwhelmed by as many as 100,000 tourists and spectators whose presence will most certainly overwhelm local resources if they don’t have any additional support.

Potential Issues

ring of fire eclipse

With public safety in mind, the National Guard will be present during the solar eclipse to help with traffic, search and rescue operations, and even potential wildfires. Not only do local roads stand to be overcrowded, people could potentially abandon their vehicles and get lost while traveling on foot if they decide to walk into the fields to get a better view of the eclipse. An influx of traffic in remote areas can also lead to willing spectators parking their vehicles unsafely, causing wildfires in areas that boast dry vegetation.

A State Of Overcrowding

Given the sheer volume of people traveling to get a front-row seat to the four-minute event, it’s always best to be proactive. In addition to relying on the National Guard, The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management has advised out-of-state travelers to consider visiting other states that may be less crowded, including but not limited to Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kentucky.

It Will Be A While Before It Happens Again

The Oklahoma National Guard will be hoping for the best while expecting the worst in their preparation to make sure everybody is safe during the solar eclipse. Citing student safety as a primary concern, some schools even plan to close for the day because local public safety resources will be stretched to the max while managing what’s considered to be an unprecedented amount of tourists. Considering that the next total solar eclipse isn’t expected to be visible from the contiguous United States for another 20 years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that so many people are traveling to witness the sun being completely shrouded by the Moon.

It Won’t Just Be Oklahoma

As of this writing, four states (Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Ohio) have urged their residents to stock up on groceries, gas, prescriptions, and other basic necessities because traffic will be impossible to navigate during the days surrounding the event.

You Don’t Have To Go To Oklahoma

If dealing with the National Guard and large crowds in order to bear witness to a solar eclipse doesn’t sound like an appealing prospect, it’s worth noting that this naturally occurring phenomena will be partially visible for around 90 minutes in other areas along its path. In other words, you can still enjoy the standard definition version of the solar eclipse if you don’t do well with overcrowding and what’s expected to be very claustrophobic conditions. No matter where you’re located, it comes with strong recommendations that you pick up a pair of eclipse glasses because it’s never safe to look directly at the sun, as it will cause permanent damage to your eyes.

Source: Newsweek

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