Texas Official Urges People to Stock Up on Food Before Solar Eclipse Hits

By: Georgia | Published: Mar 13, 2024

A Texas official has recommended that residents of one county prepare for the total solar eclipse by stocking up on food and fuel in advance. 

The event, set to occur on April 8, will cause the moon to position itself in such a way that it completely blocks the sun, creating darkness during the early afternoon across several U.S. states. This rare celestial event is anticipated to draw crowds nationwide as people converge on areas in the path of totality.

Path of Totality Across the U.S.

The total solar eclipse will begin its journey in Mexico and will extend across various U.S. states including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, before moving out over the North Atlantic. 

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A detailed map displaying the path of the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse across the United States, as presented by NASA. The map highlights the path of totality with a shaded trail stretching from Texas in the southwest to Maine in the northeast, indicating specific times of the eclipse's occurrence in Central (CDT) and Eastern (EDT) time zones

Source: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

The path of totality, where the eclipse will be fully visible, promises a unique spectacle as it plunges millions into darkness.

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Anticipated Crowds and Preparations

In anticipation of the solar eclipse, several Texas counties have issued state of emergency declarations to prepare for the expected influx of visitors. 

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A group of people, including a man and a woman in the center, are gazing upwards at the sky with solar eclipse glasses on. They are outside, standing in front of a building, with expressions of curiosity and amazement

Source: NASA

Officials are taking proactive measures to ensure safety and manage the crowds that are expected to gather in the path of totality. These measures are in response to the large number of people who are likely to travel to experience the eclipse firsthand.

Recommendations from Emergency Services

Mike Jones, the director of Hays County’s Office of Emergency Services, suggested that residents should visit stores and gas stations in advance to reduce traffic flow on the day of the event. 

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A photo showing two Shell V-Power Nitro+ fuel pumps illuminated at night. The pumps are numbered 7 and 8

Source: Jakob Rosen/Unsplash

He said “I recommended visiting the stores and gas stations in advance to simply reduce traffic flow the day of the event and manage individuals’ expectations that we will have a few more visitors in our county than normal. I always encourage [people] to keep your fuel tanks filled [half] tank or better as a standard practice.”

Visitor Anticipation in Hays County

Hays County is preparing for “many thousands of visitors” who are expected to arrive for the solar eclipse event. 

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A striking image of a total solar eclipse captured at the moment known as the diamond ring effect

Source: Jongsun Lee/Unsplash

A dedicated webpage for the eclipse on the county’s site highlights the influx of millions of people traveling to areas within the roughly 100-mile-wide path across the continent where maximum coverage of the Sun by the Moon can be observed.

Disaster Declarations in Surrounding Counties

Adjacent counties, including Travis County, Kendall County, and Bell County, have also issued disaster declarations in advance of the eclipse. 

Four individuals are perched on the edge of a rocky cliff, looking upwards toward the sky with eclipse glasses on. They are surrounded by natural foliage, indicating a remote or wilderness setting

Source: Wikimedia Commons

These declarations are a response to the anticipated extremely large crowds, increased traffic, and potential strains on first responders, hospitals, and roads. 

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The Objective of Disaster Declarations

The purpose of these disaster declarations is to enable counties to take necessary actions to ensure the well-being of both residents and visitors during the eclipse. 

A diverse group of spectators, from children to adults, are seated outdoors looking upwards through solar eclipse glasses

Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to Travis County’s declaration, these measures are crucial for positioning the counties to request aid and assistance if needed, thereby ensuring a safe environment for everyone involved.

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Bell County Braces for Impact

Bell County has declared a local state of emergency, anticipating a significant increase in visitors and potential strain on resources. 

The photo captures a total solar eclipse in a twilight sky, with the silhouette of the moon perfectly centered over the sun. The surrounding sky is a gradient of light blue to sunset orange

Source: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

The declaration predicts the county’s population could double, largely due to its location in the Path of Totality. Officials are preparing for possible traffic congestion, fuel shortages, and increased demand on first responders and medical facilities.

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Regulations for Property Owners

As part of its emergency preparations, Bell County requires property owners hosting large events, such as watch parties or camping for more than 50 people, to register with the county. 

A casual gathering of people seen from behind, focused on an event not visible in the frame. They are standing under a wooden pergola adorned with string lights

Source: Samantha Gades/Unsplash

This measure aims to ensure adequate bathroom and waste disposal facilities are available, assisting public safety officials and first responders in managing the expected surge in population and potential stress on roads and highways.

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Timing and Visibility of the Eclipse

The total solar eclipse will make its entrance over North America on April 8, with the path of totality becoming visible in North Texas at 1:40 p.m. CT. 

A sequence of images capturing a solar eclipse progression. Starting from the left, the first three images show the moon gradually covering the sun, transitioning from a crescent to a near-total eclipse. The central image features a total solar eclipse, with the moon fully obscuring the sun, surrounded by a glowing corona

Source: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

While the path of totality, where the eclipse can be seen in its full glory, will pass through a select number of states, every state in the contiguous U.S. will have the chance to witness some part of the eclipse. This widespread visibility ensures that almost everyone in the country can participate in this celestial event, with only minimal regions in Hawaii and Alaska being outside the viewing area. 

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Understanding the Total Solar Eclipse

According to NASA, a total solar eclipse happens when the moon aligns perfectly between the Earth and the sun, blocking the latter completely. 

This is a close-up image of a total solar eclipse. The moon completely covers the center of the sun, creating a black disk surrounded by a radiant solar corona. The corona appears as a white halo emanating from behind the moon, with red solar flares visible at the edge

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This alignment results in a dramatic darkening of the sky, simulating the conditions of dawn or dusk, for those situated directly in the eclipse’s path of totality.

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The Next U.S. Total Solar Eclipse

This upcoming total solar eclipse will be the last one visible from the United States until the year 2044

A captivating image of a solar eclipse, with the moon centrally positioned in front of the sun

Source: Bryan Goff/Unsplash

The phenomenon presents a unique opportunity for people within the affected areas to experience one of nature’s most remarkable events, as the day momentarily turns into night, inviting millions to witness the spectacle firsthand.

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