Eclipse, News

A Vermonter’s Dozen Tips for Visiting Eclipse Viewers

by Plainfield Emergency Management and Hazard Mitigation as posted to Plainfield People

photo by Paul Fixx
A large group gathered to use homemade viewing devices at the Jeudevine Library’s viewing party for the 2017 partial eclipse in Hardwick. Viewing devices were made out of shoeboxes, cardboard tubes and even a colander.

Please share this with folks heading this way.

Folks, please come prepared, including with warm clothing and sturdy, waterproof boots. We truly want you to have a safe, enjoyable time here. Here’s more. . .

1. Getting around safely in Vermont requires advanced planning. Know as exactly as possible what your destination is, and how to get there in good time. The closer the time of the eclipse, the more traffic there will be. Plan on arriving early. Plan your route carefully and print out the driving directions, in advance, on paper.

2. If the Internet and cell networks crash here (which they well might), you will lose access to online maps. Google Maps and Apple Maps directions will be inaccessible. Bring paper road maps, or download maps to your phone in advance so they can be viewed offline.

photo by Paul Fixx
This projected image of the partially eclipsed sun shows dark sunspots on the face of the partially eclipsed sun for folks attending the August 2017 Jeudevine Memorial Library eclipse watch party.

3. Vermont does not have a Burger King, neighborhood deli or McDonalds every mile like in urban areas. Most restaurants will be closed on Monday – that’s typical. Bring not just lunch, but also supper. Bring enough water and food for everybody, including pets.

4. All gas stations have a fixed supply of gas in their underground tanks, which is refreshed based upon their typical customer load. Thousands of extra cars may use up that gas supply in many locations. Gas up with a full tank before you enter Vermont because many gas stations here could become inaccessible or run out of fuel.

5. All of northern Vermont’s unpaved roads are going to be undrivable. Do not leave paved roads, especially in a typical passenger car. This is mud season and you can easily get stuck.

6. Stores may become sold out of everything edible and drinkable. All deli foods and packaged meals will probably be gone by noon. After that anything edible . . . from pretzels to boxes of crackers to candy . . . will be sold out by 2 p.m. or so. Bottled water and soda will also disappear from the shelves. Bring enough snack food and water supplies to last until you get back home in the evening.

photo by Paul Fixx
A gold-hued telescopic view of the August 2017 partial eclipse of the sun is seen from Hardwick’s park next to the swinging bridge.

7. Main and secondary state highways could . . . in the afternoon . . . become parking lots of immovable cars, or creep along at a slow rate for hours. Especially after 3:45 p.m., when the eclipse ends, all Vermont’s highways will be hit by the influx of up to 100,000 vehicles – all wanting to head south at the same time. Bring baby supplies and entertainment for children, along with a portable urinal or bedpan, toilet paper, medications and a way to keep everyone happy without access to the Internet.

8. Many rural Vermonters are private and very property conscious. If you need help or a bathroom, don’t assume you will be welcome. Stay on marked paths, walkways and driveways; don’t walk across lawns or fields without permission; and if no one answers the door (even if you see lights or movement inside) don’t walk around the house to get their attention.

9. Vermont highways have much narrower shoulders in hilly locations, compared to southern New England. Don’t pull off the road unless you see a car-width shoulder. Beyond that is a drainage ditch. If you go into that ditch you may not be able to get the car out on Monday, because most wreckers will not be available that day.

10. Many Vermont cell phone networks are marginal and crash easily when there is too much traffic or a hill gets in the way. Do not stream video or audio to your friends back home. Minimize your cell phone use except for emergencies. Use 911 if there is a health or injury issue.

11. And speaking of cell phones and digital cameras . . . if you aim such a camera device at the sun, the camera lens acts as a magnifier and will fry the camera receptor to a crisp, killing it forever. Do not aim your phone or your digital camera at the Sun except during totality. (And also, of course, don’t fry your eyes by looking at the Sun without special eclipse-viewing glasses.)

12. And please – be kind, be polite, be resourceful and think ahead.

The above tips were posted by Plainfield Emergency Management and Hazard Mitigation as posted to Plainfield People.

Plainfield Emergency Management and Hazard Mitigation

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