While we’ve barely kicked off July, and we wish everyone a happy and safe Independence Day holiday, it’s never too early to start preparing for the summer event of the year - the 2017 total solar eclipse! Taking place on Monday, August 21st, this is the first total solar eclipse since 1979 and people have been planning for it for the last several years!
While the eclipse will be viewable from many different locations across the nation, those of us in Central Oregon will have access to the path of totality, meaning viewers will get to experience total darkness firsthand. Madras, Oregon (less than an hour northeast of Bend on a normal traffic day) falls directly in the path, with totality beginning at 10:19 am PDT and lasting for approximately two minutes.
What does this mean for Bend? While not in the path of totality, Bend is close enough to these top viewing locations that residents can expect to experience the effects of this highly anticipated event. Hotels and campsites have been booked for ages! With an influx of so many visitors and traffic to the area, and an uncertainty of what to expect, authorities are ramping up and preparing much like a natural disaster. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Prepare 7-10 days ahead: With such an increase of visitors to the area, locals are recommended to stock up on essentials 7-10 days ahead of time in hopes of beating the crowds, avoiding shortages, and allowing for stores to restock before the big day. This includes cash, groceries, water, fuel, medications and any additional supplies you may need for the event. Don’t forget to grab a pair of solar eclipse glasses too!
Increased traffic: It’s unavoidable, but important to note that traffic is going to be absolutely insane during the day of the eclipse and the days that lead up to it and follow. With so many visitors to the area, typical driving times are going to increase tenfold (it’s currently estimated a 8+ hour to Madras on the day of the eclipse), so plan ahead and practice nice driving! The Oregon Department of Transportation's TripCheck website is a great resource for traffic conditions and delays, closures and hazards. If you’re sticking around town, opt for ride sharing, bicycles, or the free shuttle.
Vehicles aside, people should prepare for longer wait times in restaurants, long lines in stores and delays to regularly scheduled services including trash, recycling, mail and other delivery services. Patience will be of utmost importance during this time.
How to view and what to bring: Viewing a solar eclipse without proper eye protection can lead to serious damage or injury as it’s unsafe to look directly at the sun during any phase of the eclipse, aside from “totality,” when the moon is completely blocking the sun. Solar eclipse glasses, which are special purpose solar filters, are the only safe way to look at the sun during no or partial eclipse. Regular sunglasses are not strong enough. For more information on eye protection, follow this link.
In addition to solar eclipse glasses, don’t forget to bring water, snacks, medications, comfortable shoes and layers, and cash. If driving, be sure to stock up on fuel and be prepared for traffic delays.
Addition information: The total solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest experiences and one not to be missed! Click here for more information about the eclipse, it’s phases, how to view it and more.