Seneca County prepares for April solar eclipse
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Thousands of people are expected to travel to Seneca County on April 8, 2024 to experience the total solar eclipse and Seneca County EMA Administrator John Spahr wants to make sure the county is prepared.
On Nov. 17, Spahr hosted an eclipse event planning meeting at the Public Safety Building where he shared information and brainstormed with representatives from county departments and organizations, local school districts and universities and First Responders.
Officials say they expect visitors to arrive as early as April 5. The influx of guests into the county may create safety and logistical issues including crowded roadways, limited cell and internet service and First Responder access to emergencies.
According to officials, to keep roadways as clear as possible, Spahr is encouraging local schools, businesses and government offices to close for the day. The eclipse will last from about 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., which is around the time schools and many businesses are closing.
“The recommendation is to not have in-person classes that day,” said Spahr.
County law enforcement and fire departments plan to be fully staffed for the event, and officials say Sheriff Fredrick Stevens will utilize reserve units as well. The added manpower, gas and miscellaneous costs will be funded by a $1 million state grant secured through the help of State Rep. Gary Click.
“Rep. Click worked on this with me and other EMA directors to make this happen,” said Spahr. “I would like to publicly thank Rep. Click for helping push this through.”
Spahr says he wants local residents to understand the potential scope of impact the eclipse event could have on county residents. Clogged streets may prevent daily activities such grocery shopping and purchasing medication, and gas stations may not be able to meet the fuel demands of thousands of cars.
“Our citizens need to plan ahead,” said Spahr. “Shop the week before. Get gas the week before. Buy your medications a week ahead.”
Officials say while the county is making necessary safety preparations for the event, Destination Seneca County is planning for the fun. Seneca County Solar Eclipse of the Heart, which runs from April 5 through April 8, will provide visitors and local residents the opportunity to enjoy Seneca County’s unique recreational and entertainment opportunities.
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