The Great American Solar Eclipse will pass through our community at 11:35 am on Monday, August 21. For just shy of 2 minutes, we will experience totality. If you are not within the 70-mile band of totality, you see only a partial eclipse.
Although it is impossible to predict exactly the effects, most officials agree on the following:
- Potentially up to 500,000 people will come to view the eclipse.
- Idaho Falls, Rigby, and Rexburg are prime viewing areas, and Driggs and Jackson will see a massive influx, as well.
- Visitors will likely trickle in to town 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.
- The total solar eclipse is a scientific phenomenon that will excite and amaze you!
Cell phones may not work due to high usage demand, impacting your ability to make phone calls, access the internet, map directions, and text.
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. If you are unable to place a call to 911 on your cell phone or other mobile device, find the nearest landline.
For non-emergencies, call (208) 529-1200 to reach Idaho Falls Police Department.
- If you don’t have a landline in your home, identify a neighbor with a landline. Tell your children that this may be the only way to contact 911.
- Call 911 for emergencies only. If you are in a fender bender, take pictures, exchange information and file a police report after August 22.
- Sign up for Code Red alerts on the Bonneville County and the City of Idaho Falls websites. Texting is usually the “last to go” on your cell phone, so emergency text alerts may work.
Given the large number of visitors to our region, access to basic supplies might be limited.
- Buy groceries and water before Wednesday. Be prepared for your family to be comfortable for 24-72 hours with no outside resources.
- Get prescriptions and other medical necessities (oxygen, for example) filled early in the week.
- Fill up your gas tank early.
- Keep cash on hand. 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.
- Tune your vehicle to local radio stations instead of satellite radio for important emergency updates.
Plan for significant delays. Leave early for your destination; experts are predicting it may take up to three times longer. Keep in mind that more pedestrians and bicyclists will be out- stay alert while driving!
- Know exactly where you’re going. Mapping functions on your phone may not work.
- tore bottled water and snacks in your vehicle for long traffic delays or an emergency.
During the Eclipse
Special eclipse viewing glasses are a must for safe viewing of the eclipse. If you look at the sun during the eclipse, you risk permanent damage to your retinas. 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.
- Purchase eclipse viewing glasses at the Idaho Falls Visitor Center or other sites around town.
- Get to your viewing location early and prepare to “settle in.” Bring all your supplies to remain there until after the eclipse.