Officials finalizing plans prior to eclipse

Officials finalizing plans prior to eclipse

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It's T-minus two weeks until the Lowcountry will be in darkness in the middle of the day.

The total solar eclipse will be here before we know it and officials are working their hardest to finalize plans to make sure everyone here in the area is safe.

Locally, the eclipse will begin at 1:16 p.m. and will last until 4:09 p.m. – with totality happening at 2:46 p.m. and lasting for about two minutes.

Officials are preparing for an all-day event. There are going to be extra emergency crews on duty, but officials are waiting to finalize the exact number.

"Public safety staff is going to be really staffed up. On that particular day we're bringing in some extra people to make sure we have the resources that we need," Mike Wilbert, the City of Charleston's Director of Emergency Management, said.

Emergency management officials with the city of Charleston say they have been working on a plan for about eight weeks now. They've been looking at past plans for how they handle the Cooper River Bridge Run every year – but they say there are expecting even more people for this event.

"We're taking the Cooper River Bridge Run and we're tweaking it a little bit. But we're looking for a lot of people coming into the city of Charleston. We're very close with the Convention and Visitor's Bureau and we know the occupancy rates are very high. So we're kind of using that as a bench mark," Wilbert said.

Right now, the main focus is putting the final touches on the city's plan and looking at areas they still may have some work to do.

Wilbert said there are more than 100 parks in the city and he hopes residents take advantage of those and their neighborhoods to watch the eclipse. All of the city's parks will be open during the eclipse, with Parks and Recreation staff at many of them.

"We want to make sure this is a nice event for the citizens of Charleston," Wilbert said.

Officials are also gearing up for a significant amount of traffic on the roadways.

"We're encouraging citizens, if they can, to stay in their neighborhoods and enjoy their neighborhoods and try to make this a neighborhood event. As opposed to try to get out on the roads to maybe adding frustrations that they don't need to have," Wilbert said.

Officials are asking people NOT to stop in the middle of the roadway to see the eclipse.

"Anytime you have a once in a lifetime event – people are going to find themselves in a spot and want to take advantage of it. So we're just really encouraging everybody to be really aware as the eclipse approaches and when it actually happens," Wilbert said.

On that Monday – trash pickup for commercial will be normal – but for residential they're pushing it a day forward to Aug. 22. They don't want to get the extra trucks on the roads with the possible influx of traffic. If people are going to parking garages – that is allowed. It is not allowed, however, to view the eclipse from the top floor – you'll have to go somewhere else to watch it.

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