FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2017


State Emergency Operations Center will open as part of state’s coordinated eclipse response plan

Missouri State Emergency Operations Center will be staffed by key state response partner agencies beginning Friday

In preparation for a large number of visitors to Missouri and the potential for increased traffic and eclipse-related issues, the State Emergency Operations Center will be activated beginning Friday morning and continuing through Tuesday, Aug. 22, to monitor conditions and respond to possible requests for assistance.

Just as Missourians have been preparing for the chance to witness the total solar eclipse that will span the Show-Me State, Missouri’s emergency managers and response agencies have been planning, too. The Department of Public Safety, State Emergency Management Agency, Missouri State Highway Patrol and other state response partners, including the Missouri Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources, have been working together on a coordinated response plan since March.  

“This will be a unique event, but we’re utilizing the experience gained from other major events that bring in large numbers of people, increased traffic and that have the potential to tax local resources,” Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden said. “Preplanning and coordination with our state and local partners have been essential, and strong communication throughout the event period will continue.”

At the local level, many communities and businesses have been making adjustments to reduce traffic, including changing trash collections schedules, deliveries and work schedules. In Jefferson City, the only state capital in the 14 states in the eclipse path of totality, non-essential state offices will be closed to free up parking for an expected inflow of thousands of visitors to the Capitol Complex and to reduce traffic congestion.

Jefferson City will host a series of events, including NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow traveling exhibit. The Missouri capital city will also be one of seven cities from which the space agency will broadcast a live feed of the solar eclipse.

Here are key steps the public can take to reduce traffic and increase safety, particularly in areas of the state that are in the eclipse path of totality, a 70-mile-wide band stretching approximately from St. Joseph to Ste. Genevieve:

  • Plan ahead where you’ll view the eclipse and allow extra time to travel there. You don’t want to view a historic event stuck in traffic! Also, wait for traffic to abate before heading back onto the road. Consider carpooling to reduce traffic.
  • Follow news reports beginning over the weekend and especially traffic reports Monday morning for information about local traffic and events that could affect travel. The MoDOT Traveler Information Map is a good resource: http://traveler.modot.org/map/
  • Avoid unnecessary travel in and near the path of totality on Aug. 21. Consider taking care of routine matters that involve vehicular travel before or after Aug. 21.
  • Motorists should be alert and expect the unexpected. Expect additional traffic and avoid distractions. Remember, out of town visitors may not be familiar with traffic patterns or be looking for viewing sites. Watch out for cars on road shoulders and pedestrians. Remember, visibility will be reduced during the eclipse.
  • Think of eye safety and only use approved “eclipse glasses.” Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the very brief total phase of the eclipse, which will occur only in the narrow path of totality. According to NASA and other experts, the only safe eclipse glasses are verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. Even the darkest sunglasses are not safe. Check NASA’s eclipse safety page: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety for details.

The Department of Public Safety has created an eclipse safety webpage with recommended steps the public can take to get the most enjoyment out of the eclipse. The page is can be accessed from the DPS homepage at https://dps.mo.gov/ or directly here. The page includes an eclipse safety video.

The state of Missouri’s eclipse page can link you to local events planned across Missouri, transportation information, along with details on viewing areas at Missouri State Parks and Conservation areas. Find it on the state homepage: https://www.mo.gov/.

 



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For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail mike.o'connell@dps.mo.gov