On August 21, for the first time in nearly 100 years, the United States will experience a total solar eclipse. This only occurs when the moon passes in between the Earth and the Sun, temporarily blocking view of the sun. This causes untimely darkness and a noticeable drop in temperature in the direct path of the eclipse, which stretches from Oregon to South Carolina. The amount of time an area experiences the eclipse depends on exactly where they are in that path. NASA predicts that over 300 million could have a direct view of the total solar eclipse. The metro Atlanta area is expected to experience only a partial solar eclipse, but an exciting event nonetheless.
More than 12 million Americans live directly inside the 70-mile-wide path of direct totality, and over half the nation live within only 400 miles of it. Millions are expected to travel to be able to witness it, as it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. In many areas, including our local Cobb County community, schools are letting students out early or taking a full day off to ensure safe travel on roadways.
The event will only last a couple of minutes in our area, but has the potential to cause dangerous situations. Traffic has the potential to be heavy during this time, both due to normal commutes and those traveling to witness the eclipse. Not only will traffic levels possibly be unnaturally high, but distracted driving will also be common during the eclipse as drivers attempt to catch a glance while behind the wheel. We encourage you to enjoy the eclipse, but to be aware of your surroundings and use extra caution if you’re on Georgia roads while it is happening. Use your headlights and leave extra distance between your vehicle and those around you.
From 1 – 4 pm, both Georgia Tech and Georgia State University will be offering eclipse glasses and a viewing area for people to enjoy the experience. You can also visit the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website to view available locations and times for viewing. Safe travels!