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Solar eclipse 2024 warnings: here’s the full list you need to know ahead of April 8

From school closings to driving warnings, here’s how to prepare for the eclipse

Written by
Gerrish Lopez

The 2024 total solar eclipse is just a few weeks away, and anticipation is growing for the big event. No doubt you’ve already made plans for how and when to watch the eclipse, perhaps even making travel plans to head to one of the best states to watch the eclipse. But recently, a number of eclipse warnings have been issued. No, these warnings are not due to any danger caused by the eclipse itself, they’ve been issued in order to prepare residents in the path of totality for the influx of eclipse-chasers to their cities and towns. It’s always good to be prepared, so grab your eclipse glasses and read on for everything you need to know.

When is the 2024 solar eclipse?

The 2024 solar eclipse will take place Monday, April 8, 2024.

What emergency warnings have been issued?

Most of the U.S. will witness at least a partial eclipse on April 8, but those lucky cities and towns in the path of totality will experience nearly five minutes of darkness during the event. Given the rarity of this event, millions of people are expected to be watching, whether from their own homes or traveling somewhere to see it.

The first major warning issued is for drivers. It seems obvious, but the Federal Highway Administration has issued a warning: don’t watch and drive. "Don't watch the eclipse while driving, and don't stop on the interstate or highway shoulder," said Shailen Bhatt, the Federal Highway Administrator, in a briefing on Friday. "Please, plan ahead to arrive early and, if you can, stay put to avoid traffic congestion." Some schools are even closing due to potential transportation issues related to traffic and crowds.

Crowds of tourists heading to areas of totality like Texas, Kentucky, Ohio and New York are the root of the other major warning to stock up on food, supplies and gas. While it sounds sinister, this is merely a recommendation for residents in these eclipse hotspots, as the influx of tourists snapping up groceries and gas for their visits could affect residents’ regular routines.

The FAA has also issued a warning for flights and airports. Travelers might experience delays or disruptions due to congestion as special air traffic procedures are to be implemented during the eclipse. Flights will not be affected by the eclipse itself or the darkness, but the FAA expects an increase in air traffic levels. Delta, for example, is offering path of totality flights that will allow passengers to experience the eclipse at 30,000 feet, with enhanced views from an A220-300 aircraft's large windows.

Experts say that you should also keep an eye on your pets during the eclipse. No need for eclipse glasses—your pooch has no interest in looking at the sun—but dogs and cats (as well as other animals) may behave a little differently during the eclipse. There aren't many definitive studies, but animals have been known to start their nighttime routines early during a total eclipse. Some dogs may howl. More likely, an anxious pet may display the same behavior exhibited during a storm or when hearing fireworks. Or your pet might pick up on your emotional reaction to the eclipse. Just be sure to check on them while you're enjoying the event. 

Why have there been so many warnings about the solar eclipse?

Because of the excitement surrounding this total solar eclipse—the next one visible in the U.S. will not be until 2044—many people are eager to experience totality. Data shows that hundreds of thousands of people will be traveling to areas in the path of totality. Many of these cities and towns are not used to this many people arriving all at once. Officials want to ensure everyone is prepared to experience the eclipse safely.

How to view the solar eclipse safely

Obviously, the first rule is “Don’t look directly into the sun,” even when it’s completely covered. The safest way to view the eclipse is to wear solar viewing glasses, AKA “eclipse glasses.” These glasses are readily available, and some local organizations may give them away for free.

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