Wood County prepares for April 8 total solar eclipse

April 8 is still months away, but planning is underway in Wood County where day will turn into night just after 3 p.m.
Published: Oct. 11, 2023 at 6:24 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - April 8 is still months away, but planning is underway in Wood County where day will turn into night just after 3 p.m.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for everybody to see something that you don’t normally get to see without leaving home,” Jeff Klein, director of Wood County Emergency Management Agency said.

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, blocking the light from the sun and casting a shadow here on Earth.

The last total solar eclipse with northwest Ohio in its path of totality happened in 1806. Klein said, this time around, the one thing you can count on is a lot of visitors.

“But there’s going to be challenges, those challenges are going to be the visitors we have coming in,” Klein said. “For Wood County, we are expecting our population to double, go from anywhere from about 132,000 to 264,000 people.”

With the flood of visitors expected, that could lead to travel gridlock. Klein is putting residents on notice to prepare.

“When you have that many people, the first thing is, getting around is going to be an issue,” Klein said. “Traveling is going to be an issue, and keep the roads open for the visitors, the less traffic congestion there’s going to be.”

The total solar eclipse line that crossed from Oregon (state) to South Carolina in 2017 has been a good learning tool for Klein on how to prepare.

“Grocery stores ran out of food, and a lot of places ran out of supplies in that,” Klein said. “So, this is why we’re really kind of encouraging our local folks, kind of think of this as a level three, and stock up on supplies early, we don’t need to go crazy, but we do need to think about this.”

The length of totality will vary from nothing to more than 2 minutes in the Toledo metro area. Totality will nearly reach 4 minutes from Findlay to Norwalk and everywhere in between.

“Ohio EMA in 2017 went to Kentucky to kind of get a firsthand view, that a five-hour drive there, seventeen-hour drive back, and that’s where they recognized gas stations running out of gas and grocery stores and restaurants running out of food,” Klein said.

During the total solar eclipse, we will be able to see the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona. During totality, Klein warns that proper eye protection is a must.

“One state had 16,000 eye injuries in 2017. Please get your viewing glasses from a reputable source,” Klein said.

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