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Total darkness bringing traffic, money, parties

The coming Great American Eclipse will happen on August 21, and state officials are warning residents to be prepared and patient.
The eclipse is a total solar eclipse, meaning the sky will become dark as the moon overtakes the view of the Sun. The total solar eclipse is to last about 2 minutes and 41 seconds, with Charleston being one of several dozen cities in the United States that will receive a total eclipse viewing.
Charleston County has prepared for the eclipse for months, with entire Web sites dedicated to the booking of hotel rooms and eclipse viewing parties. Even neighboring Dorchester, Charleston and Berkeley County School Districts have closed school that day: Colleton County’s public school calendar does not have students back in session until the following day, on August 22nd.
The Colleton County Memorial Library is hosting a viewing party on their front lawn, with music and refreshments provided. Also, the Town of Edisto Beach is offering residents protective eyewear, on a first-come, first serve basis.

The Town of Cottageville is also recognizing the eclipse. The City of Walterboro is not hosting any public events for the viewing, according to information provided by the town’s tourism department.
Regardless of what is planned locally, state officials are warning residents to be prepared for several days of chaotic traffic, as more than 1 million people are expected to come into Charleston and the greater Lowcountry to view the eclipse.
According to information provided by the S.C. Department of Emergency Management, the total eclipse will require preparation for residents, especially those who may be traveling from their houses to view the historic event. “The total solar eclipse will be visible along a thin, roughly 100-mile-wide path that runs diagonally across America, from Oregon to South Carolina,” said Derrec Becker, spokesman for the state emergency management division.
“…Viewers in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston will experience the longest period of 100-percent total eclipse for a metro area on the entire East Coast of the United States,” he said. “Emergency managers are planning for an estimated influx of more than one million visitors into South Carolina for several days on either side of the eclipse.
“Expect nearly everything to be above capacity for nearly a week total. Residents, businesses, and visitors should all be prepared for this historic event by keeping safety in mind,” said Becker.
Tips for residents include:
Preparing now for where you will go to watch the eclipse – and how you will return home. Make sure you have appropriate eyewear for the eclipse: sunglasses are not safe enough and can allow the eclipse to damage your eyes. Eclipse glasses are available to purchase now on a first-come, first-serve basis from the S.C. State Parks and Recreation Web site at www.scparkstore.com. Other Eclipse merchandise is also available for sale on this site.
Buy gas and groceries now, as supplies may be running short from the influx of visitors.
Businesses should also be prepared for an influx of customers, Becker said. “We encourage them to order goods and schedule staff accordingly,” he said, “and merchants may want to adjust hours beginning August 18th through August 21st.”

Heather Walters (1203 Posts)