solar eclipse

Indiana Gov. issues executive order warning of ‘massive' amounts of people coming to state for total solar eclipse

According to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, a "significant influx of several hundred-thousand visitors" were expected to come to through the state, with Indianapolis in the total solar eclipse's path of totality

NBC Universal, Inc.

As state agencies in the path of totality for the next week's total solar eclipse roll out plans and advisories ahead of the event, the Governor of one Midwestern state has issued an executive order due to the "high-number" of visitors expected to travel there.

According to a press release, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb last week signed an executive order "to support the anticipated needs of Indiana’s emergency response, transportation, communication and critical infrastructure systems due to the expected high-number of visitors traveling to the state to view the total solar eclipse."

"On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will pass directly over the state of Indiana, giving everyone in our state an incredible view of this extremely rare event," the order said. The last total solar eclipse to pass over Indiana occurred in 1869, and the next one is not expected to occur until 2099."

MORE: Schools across Illinois, Indiana announce closures for rare solar eclipse

The order goes on to say that Indiana expects to see a "significant influx of several hundred-thousand visitors," and that the "massive number of people" viewing the total solar eclipse in Indiana could interfere with first responder or public safety communications.

"It is of primary importance to the state of Indiana to be prepared to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public during this event and to be prepared to swiftly and effectively respond to any emergency that may arise," the order continued.

According to experts, Indianapolis rests in the solar eclipse's path of totality. It is expected to be visible over the area around 3:06 p.m. ET.

MORE: Where to get free solar eclipse glasses in the Chicago area

The order comes as other Midwestern states issue advisories and warnings around the event. During a press conference in February, officials in Summit County, Ohio warned residents to "stay home," as heavy traffic and congestion was expected. In Illinois, officials with the Department of Transportation posted that similar problems could arise.

"Crowds of 100,000 to 200,000 are expected to come to the prime viewing area in southern Illinois," the agency warned. "All roads in and out of the area are expected to have heavy congestion in the couple hours after the eclipse."

IDOT noted that I-57, which travels from Chicago to the southern tip of the state, is the direct interstate with access to the path of totality. U.S. 45 runs through the middle of the path of totality, and Illinois 1 and Interstates 64 and 70 will also provide access IDOT said.

"Prepare for traffic congestion before, during and after the eclipse," the agency warned, adding that it expects heavy traffic on rural roads, interstates and major highways leading to and from Chicago, St. Louis and other cities.

Experts also warned people to turn on their headlights if driving during the event.

"Even though it’s a partial eclipse over Chicago, the skies are still going to get darker, with more than 90% of the sun getting covered," NBC 5 Meteorologist Kevin Jeanes said. In the eclipse's path of totality, skies were expected to get "much darker," Jeanes said.

Those in Midwest who are traveling during the eclipse are encouraged to hit the road with a full tank of gas, a charged phone and bottled water. IDOT also warned drivers to be cautious, as "a large number of pedestrians" were expected to be near roads.

"If you’re in a vehicle, don’t stop along roads or bridges," the agency said.

And while many parts of Illinois will need eclipse glasses to view the spectacle safely, IDOT warned against wearing them while driving, as they block out almost all visible light.

"Don't ever take photos, videos, or wear 'eclipse glasses' while driving," the agency stressed.

Contact Us