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Community Update | SPECIAL TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE EDITION | Union County, Ohio | Apr 1, 2024

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April 1, 2024


This is Shawnna Sue, the Communications Specialist for the Union County Health Department, and I have taken over the newsletter for this special Total Solar Eclipse 2024 edition.

We are one week out from the eclipse! And to say I’m excited is a HUGE understatement. You may be wondering why I’m so excited. Well, for starters, the moon is closer to us now than it was during the 2017 solar eclipse, which means bigger darkness, bigger shadows, seeing the constellation Orion during the day… you know, super nerd stuff. And we don’t have to travel for this one… we are already in the perfect place to view the total eclipse!

You may also wonder why people are preparing early. In this newsletter, I’ll share all of that with you:

  • Why we are planning ahead
  • What should you do now to prepare
  • And lots of other fun eclipse-related stuff

If you read no further, please make sure you bookmark the website WWW.UCHD.NET/ECLIPSE◄. This site is a wealth of information regarding the eclipse, and on April 8th, we will be posting important updates throughout the day at the top of the page, including road closures, etc.

Have a great eclipse!

Shawnna Sue

Communications Specialist

That’s me in the picture… the shorter one with the snazzy turquoise hat. This picture of my husband and I is when we ventured to Sweetwater, Tennessee to view the last total solar eclipse in this portion of the United States in 2017. That eclipse was such a cool event… getting to see the “diamond ring of the eclipse” (google it… it’s super cool), to the eclipse-shaped shadows the leaves on the trees created on the ground, to the “eclipse- camaraderie” of the people around us that we viewed it with… I can only hope that we have sunny skies here in Union County and that you all get to experience totality too!

Why are we planning ahead:

In short, a total solar eclipse is rare, and Union County is in the path of totality. This means we could see a large influx of visitors coming to and through our county to view the eclipse.

US 33, RT 4 & RT 31 are all main arteries for potential eclipse travelers, and given that we are an easy drive from Columbus (who is just outside the path of totality), there is potential for a significant increase in traffic and visitors headed to or through Union County for the eclipse. This could mean potential gridlock and long delays in the afternoon/evening of April 8th as eclipse viewers head home immediately after the eclipse passes.

Here’s what you can do to prepare:

With the event 1 week away, NOW IS THE TIME TO PREPARE.

Prepare for this event like a winter storm is coming. We’re in Ohio… we all know how to do this. What are the things that you might want or need if you know a winter storm is coming to make your life a little easier?:

  • A supply of food, medicine, medical supplies, baby food/diapers, etc.
  • Make sure your gas tank is full ahead of the big day.
  • Have basic first aid or cold relief supplies available.
  • Check on friends, family, or neighbors the week before the eclipse. See if they need you to pick up anything so they don’t try to run out on Apr. 08.
  • Make a communications plan. If we do see a large influx of visitors, cell phones may not work like normal, especially in rural areas with less cell coverage.
  • Bookmark our website
  • Download the Union County Sheriff’s Office app◄ for emergency information.
  • Program your radio to 1620AM. On April 8th, we will broadcast updates on road closures, detours, and other important information.

Now for the fun stuff!

Prevent Blindness Ohio has some great resources for the eclipse:

check out their cool resources here◄.

Here is a great article with tips on how to photograph the eclipse◄ with a smartphone.

And if you know me at all on a personal level, you know it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention pet safety during the eclipse. The best quote I read about animals and the total solar eclipse was, “Some dogs bark, some don’t. Cats don’t care.” Oh, cats… am I right?
Scientists don’t seem to have a lot of information about how domestic animals will act during a total solar eclipse. The concern seems to be more about the commotion that goes along with the eclipse. The extra people, the extra noise people create, the additional traffic, etc. An article from the AKC in 2017 is a great resource if you are concerned about how to keep your dog safe during the eclipse:◄.

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