Total solar eclipse could mean total traffic nightmare in New York as Hochul warns motorists to carry water and snacks

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If you’re taking a road trip to get a better look at the eclipse, you’ll want to have plenty of patience along with your safety glasses and granola bars.

Millions of Americans are hitting the road to watch Monday’s total solar eclipse, which is expected to cause a total traffic nightmare in at least 30 interstate highways in the path of totality, where the sun will be completely blocked by the moon’s shadow for up to four minutes.

The expected impact on roads from western New York to central Texas is already being compared to “20 or 30 Super Bowls happening at the same time” by Richard Feinberg of the American Astronomical Society Eclipse Working Group.

Up to 1 million out-of-state visitors are expected to flock to New York to watch Monday’s solar eclipse. Robert Miller

At a special pre-eclipse news conference in Niagara Falls on Sunday, Gov. Kathy Hochul warned that unusually heavy traffic was ahead in the Empire State in the coming days.

“We are literally thrilled to welcome more than 1 million people to our state at this once-in-a-generation time,” Hochul said, speaking via Zoom from Albany amid prolonged state budget talks.

Hochul said that with so many onlookers expected, the state is treating this rare celestial event “as if it were one of the big storms” when it comes to traffic safety.

“Roads can only handle so much. And we expect a high volume of traffic before and after the event.”

He also urged drivers not to leave their cars on the side of the road during the eclipse.

At a news conference Sunday, Gov. Kathy Hochul warned that roads in the state’s west will be jammed with eclipse viewers, both before and after the rare celestial event, the last one expected to be visible in the region until 2044. . Helayne Seidman

“Please don’t do that. If we need emergency vehicles to get through, our first responders, we will use that as the best place so they can quickly get to you and your family,” he said.

“And make sure you have a full tank of gas.”

The New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is also stepping up its efforts to ensure public safety during the eclipse, strategically deploying resources on land, sea and air.

Commissioner Jackie Bray told reporters that the division has been preparing for the eclipse since 2022. She warned drivers to park where they shouldn’t: “Tomorrow morning we will be issuing tickets and towing quickly, particularly in the North Country.”

Bray advised all motorists to be careful and remember that it is “mud season” when planning their routes. Anyone who needs help should call 511 or download the 511NY app, Bray said.

The Canadian side of Niagara Falls is now declared state of emergency last week ahead of the solar eclipse, as it is estimated that up to 1 million visitors will descend on the iconic falls as it has been considered one of the best places to see them.

Parts of Western New York are located in an area known as totality, where the moon will completely block the sun for about three full minutes. REUTERS

The rare celestial phenomenon, in which the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, will begin around 12:30 pm CST in Dallas before ending around 4:40 pm in Caribou, Maine.

As for cities in the path of totality, a total blackout will begin between 1:40 pm CST in Dallas until 3:13 pm EST in Cleveland, and 3:32 pm EST in Caribou. according to NASA.

New York official ILoveNY website provides detailed information on peak viewing times and the best places to view the eclipse, as well as a map showing its path through the state.

The next solar eclipse in the region is not expected to occur until 2044.

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