Missouri set for prime viewing of Solar Eclipse
On Aug. 21, citizens across Missouri will have the chance to see a rare celestial event – a total solar eclipse.
The moon will block the sun’s light and cause a total solar eclipse to be visible across 300 miles of Missouri. It’s possible that more than a million visitors will come to the Show-Me State to witness the event. Missourians should make plans early to determine where they will view the eclipse, where they will stay and how best to avoid the extra traffic congestion.
“We anticipate large crowds with possible heavy congestion on the interstates and major highways the weekend leading up to the event, during the event, and the day after,” said Missouri Department of Transportation Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger. “If you are traveling for the event, leave early, stay put as long as possible and plan to stay after the end of the eclipse to avoid the peak traffic.”
Missouri will be one of 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina to experience the path of totality. Approximately 200 million people will be within a day’s drive of the path. A partial eclipse will be visible throughout the remainder of the continental United States.
The path of viewing for the solar eclipse in Missouri will cover more than 300 miles of the state. The moon will begin to eclipse the sun around 11:45 a.m. Totality of the solar eclipse enters Missouri over St. Joseph at 1:06 p.m. CDT. The eclipse will exit Missouri near Perryville at 1:21 p.m. CDT. The moon will move completely off the sun around 2:45 p.m.
Please follow these tips to drive safely on the day of the solar eclipse:
• Don’t stop along the interstate and no parking on the shoulder.
• Find a safe location to view the event and get there early.
• Don’t take photographs while driving.
• Turn your headlights on and do not rely on your automatic headlights.
• Prepare for extra congestion, especially on interstates, on the day before, day of and day after the eclipse.
• Watch out for increased pedestrian traffic along smaller roads. People may be randomly parking and walking alongside roads in the hour before the total eclipse to get the best viewing.
• Avoid travel during the eclipse or in the area of the main path if you can.
• Check traffic conditions on MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map at http://traveler.modot.org/map/ also available as a free app at MoDOT Traveler Information.
• Have a full tank of gas and bring water with you in your vehicle.
More information on eye safety and scientific aspects of the event can be found on the NASA website at http://eclipse2017.nasa.gov.