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Solar eclipse prompts National Guard response in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma National Guard is preparing to help local officials with an influx of visitors chasing the solar eclipse.
Solar eclipse prompts National Guard response in Oklahoma
Posted at 3:22 PM, Mar 22, 2024

The Oklahoma National Guard will activate members to help assist with the influx of tourists one area is expected to see for next month's total solar eclipse. 

Officials said McCurtain County Emergency Management requested National Guard members so local emergency responders can continue assisting citizens. The eclipse will occur on April 8. 

The National Guard said its 63rd Civil Support Team will help provide authorities with an extra hand. 

“McCurtain County Emergency Management requested our support because they expect up to 100,000 additional people visiting their communities to watch the eclipse,” said Lt. Col. Jabonn Flurry, 63rd CST commander. “This influx of visitors has the potential to overtax local resources and thanks to the training and experience our Guardsmen have working alongside local agencies all across Oklahoma, the CST is uniquely qualified to support our fellow Oklahomans.” 

SEE MORE: Solar eclipse could disrupt operations at US airports, FAA says

McCurtain County is within the path of totality and will have over four minutes of a total eclipse.

The total solar eclipse's swath is about 100 miles wide and extends from Texas to Maine. Other states along the path of totality have prepared by delaying road projects and closing schools. Emergency management officials have also warned that cellphone service could be disrupted because of the number of visitors. 

Many hotels and campgrounds have sold out ahead of the eclipse. 

New York is among the other states expecting many visitors. 

"The New York State Police is working closely with our local and state partners preparing for any potential increase in traffic and large gatherings that the eclipse may bring. We are making preparations to ensure the safety of the motoring public, including deploying additional troopers as needed," said New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento. "We also remind the public to watch the eclipse from designated viewing areas and to avoid stopping on controlled access highways unless there is an emergency. The New York State Police wants everyone to safely enjoy this rare event.”

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