Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
The Great American Solar Eclipse will pass through southeast Idaho around 11:35 am on Monday, August 21. For about 2 minutes, portions of southeast Idaho and western Wyoming will experience totality. Yet, this brief scientific phenomenon is so amazing that visitors from around the globe are chasing it!
Although it is impossible to predict exactly what to expect, most officials agree on the following:
- Potentially up to 500,000 people will come to southeast Idaho to view the eclipse.
- Idaho Falls, Rigby, Rexburg, and Driggs, Idaho are prime viewing areas, and Jackson, Wyoming will see a massive influx, as well.
- Visitors from around the globe will likely trickle into the region beginning Thursday, August 17 and throughout the weekend. When the eclipse is over, however, many people may leave the area via I-15 on Monday afternoon.
Cell phones may not work due to high usage demand, affecting your ability to make phone calls, access the internet, map directions, and text.
- Before you leave home, print out directions to your destination, in case you cannot access the mapping function on your cell phone.
First responders and law enforcement are working diligently to ensure your safety. With the large influx of people, 911 response times may be longer than normal.
- Only use 911 in an event of an emergency. If you are unable to place a call to 911 on your cell phone or other mobile device, find the nearest landline (grocery store, gas station, restaurant, or other business).
- Before you leave home, print out a map to Idaho Falls’ only ER at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and save this location to your phone.
Given the large number of visitors to our region, access to basic supplies might be limited.
- Make advanced dinner reservations or pack a cooler before leaving town.
- Bring cash; ATM’s may run out due to demand or may be inaccessible if Internet access is limited. Additionally, businesses may not be able to “swipe” debit or credit cards with limited internet access.
- Fill your gas tank as soon as you arrive at your destination.
- Store bottled water and snacks in your vehicle for long traffic delays or an emergency.
- Tune to local radio stations instead of satellite radio for important emergency updates.
Most likely, there will be thousands of visitors from the Wasatch Front. Keep in mind that you need to plan far more than the normal 3 – 3 ½ hours of travel time between your home and southeast Idaho.
Remember, too, that there may be even longer delays in surrounding rural communities who have limited road access in and out of their towns.
August is Idaho’s peak fire season. Be extremely careful with cigarettes, campfires, recreational burns, and parking on dry grass.
Burn bans may be in effect. Check idahofireinfo.com for fire restriction areas.
During the eclipse
Special eclipse viewing glasses are the only safe way to view the eclipse. If you experience blurry vision, rest your eyes for 15 minutes. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention. Do not drive if you are experiencing impaired vision.
Be considerate of private property and all signage. Do not block gates or driveways and make sure emergency vehicles can pass.
Get to your viewing location early and prepare to “settle in.” Bring all your supplies to remain there until after the eclipse.