Total Eclipse 2024

‘Plan now': Dallas leaders urge residents to prepare for crowds, congestion during solar eclipse

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Dallas city leaders gathered Tuesday to update residents on city plans for the upcoming total solar eclipse and urge them to be prepared.

“Make a plan now for what you’re going to do on Monday,” said Dallas' Director of Emergency Operations Travis Houston.

The city’s emergency operations center will be activated and city leaders are closely monitoring the forecast.

City leaders’ remarks focused on having the right protective eyewear and plan to handle crowds and congestion, especially the mass exodus that could clog roads after the eclipse is over.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said all available officers will be working on April 8. Drivers are urged not to stop on the road to view the eclipse or try and watch as they drive.

“We need to ensure that our first responders can respond to emergencies and make their way to local hospitals,” said Garcia.

Drivers are also urged to use public transportation or carpool and ensure they have a full tank of gas in case of long traffic delays.

Councilmember Gay Donnell Willis encouraged people to celebrate close to home if possible.

Kevin Stewart/NBCDFW.com
(left to right) Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn King Arnold (District 4), Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, Dallas City Councilmember Paula Blackmon (District 9), and Dallas City Councilmember Gay Donnell Willis (District 13) at a news conference about the upcoming total solar eclipse.

“While it’s great that we got everyone here, it’s going to add stressors,” said Willis. “If you’re an employer and your staff doesn’t have to come in to work on April 8, let’s think about that. If you don’t have to go into your job on April 8 or get out on the road, think about that.”

Several watch parties are happening across the city, including free events at Fair Park, White Rock Lake, and Kiest Park.

Dallas' Samuel Farm Park is expecting to welcome more than 2,000 visitors for a three-day event.

Dallas ISD will hold classes on Monday, though parents are warned afternoon bus schedules could be delayed due to increased traffic.

Every student will be provided eclipse glasses thanks to the Perot Museum.

While the number of expected visitors to Dallas is unknown, city leaders are relying on information shared from Nashville during their 2017 solar eclipse.

That city saw a 35% increase in population, which, according to city leaders, would translate to about 400,000 additional visitors to Dallas.

Jennifer Walker with Visit Dallas said 90% of the city’s 35,000 hotel rooms are booked, and many visitors stay multiple days.

Love Field is warning people to treat the days leading up to April 8 like holiday travel and encouraging visitors to get to the airport 90 minutes early.

If you still need eclipse glasses, Dallas Public Libraries are offering one free pair per person while supplies last.

To ease traffic, the sanitation department announced trash collection will be suspended Monday with pick-up delayed until the following day.

A solar eclipse will occur over North Texas for several hours on April 8, 2024. The partial eclipse will begin at 12:23 p.m. and end at 3:02 p.m. Totality will last only minutes, from about 1:40 p.m. until 1:44 p.m., depending on location. The event is truly a rare occasion. Another total solar eclipse won't occur over the United States until 2044 and the National Weather Service says there won't be another in our region until 2317.

MAP OF SOLAR ECLIPSE PATH

LOOKING AT THE ECLIPSE? USE PROPER EYE PROTECTION!

Anyone looking at the solar eclipse on April 8 should view the partial eclipse ONLY with proper eye protection.

Looking at the sun during a partial eclipse can lead to solar retinopathy, a condition that occurs when someone looks directly at the sun and damages the back of the eye or the retina. The damage from solar retinopathy can be permanent and lead to an overall reduction in the sharpness of a person's vision.

Sunglasses don’t offer enough protection. Solar glasses meeting the ISO 12312-2 international standard are thousands of times darker than sunglasses.

Astronomer Rick Fienberg told NBC 5 Responds that simply looking for a product with the ISO designation printed on the product isn’t enough because anyone can print that number on a pair of glasses. Fienberg is a volunteer with the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Eclipse Task Force and maintains this list of suppliers and distributors of solar viewing glasses and equipment.

Plan ahead, but if you can’t find enough eclipse viewers for each person in your family then make plans to share. 

If you have eclipse glasses from a previous eclipse, look them over to make sure the filters are not torn, scratched, or punctured. If filters are coming loose from their cardboard or plastic frames, don’t use them.

If you don’t have glasses or equipment, there are indirect ways to view the eclipse. Check out this page for instructions.

Once in totality, it’s safe to look at the moon and corona without special glasses but ONLY while the moon completely covers the sun.

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