Oregon’s 211 info will be the state’s nonemergency eclipse hotline. From Wednesday to Aug. 23. between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., dial 211 or text ECLIPSE to 898211.
The Office of Emergency Management has an online Total Solar Eclipse Guide, which includes tips on how to watch the event, plus safety issues. Visit oregon.gov/oem/hazardsprep
Travel Oregon has provided 50,000 “2017 Total Solar Eclipse” travel guides to Oregon’s Welcome Centers throughout the state. The guide is also available for visitors and lodging operators online at traveloregon.com.
— The Associated Press contributed to this story
SALEM — Oregon is ready for its moment not in the sun, with Central and Eastern Oregon in the best position to star in the shadow of a rare celestial event, officials said Tuesday.
A squad of state and federal experts and state leaders, hosted by Gov. Kate Brown, gave a presentation at the state fairgrounds, covering the good and bad, with hopefully no ugly, of the solar eclipse.
“We are more than ready for this event,” Brown said.
Monday will likely be clear across most of the state for the total eclipse of the sun, the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years. Brown’s office listed the best potential viewing areas as Warm Springs, Madras, Mitchell, Prairie City and Huntington in Central and Eastern Oregon.
Oregon is the first place to experience the eclipse, with the 70-mile wide swath where the moon will completely block the sun moving east across the Pacific Coast near Depoe Bay at 10:15 a.m. and departing the state at the Idaho border by 10:27 a.m. Along the centerline of the path of totality, the full eclipse will last under two minutes on the coast to just over two minutes in the Eastern area of the state.
Up to 1 million visitors will crowd into the areas in Oregon where the eclipse effect is total. With the possibility of clouds on the coast and in the Willamette Valley, eclipse watchers may congregate east of the Cascades.
With less than a week to go, the National Weather Service issued its first official forecast, calling for mostly sunny skies across the state, with possible overcast along the coast. The recent heat wave will have receded, with highs along the coast in the 70s and inland in the 80s.
But the weather service cautioned that likely conditions won’t be known with some certainty until the weekend.
Officials suggested that residents and visitors fill up their cars with gas and have all their provisions by this Thursday. Even areas farther away from the eclipse could see a ripple effect as fuel and foodstuffs are redirected to high demand areas.
There are currently four major fires burning in areas along the path of totality. Officials worry that thousands of extra people could create more fires, and that crowds could end up trying to travel through dangerous areas or block emergency vehicles.
Brown said with so many visitors coming into areas where wildfires have broken out, she was expanding the ban on open fires to all state parks, including beaches, beginning Wednesday and lasting at least through next Monday. Campfires, charcoal briquettes, tiki torches, and candles are banned, including at state beaches. Propane-fueled devices with an on-off switch are allowed.
Five Oregon National Guard helicopters and about 150 soldiers and airmen have been activated and will deploy this weekend to areas along the eclipse path. The units are not scheduled to take part in law enforcement duties. They will assist local officials with rescue, medical evacuation and traffic.
There will be several bottlenecks around the state, with the biggest on Interstate 5 between Portland and Salem, where traffic could be at a standstill for a stretch of over 20 miles, particularly northbound, just before 11 a.m., a half hour after the eclipse passes through the Willamette Valley.
Extra ambulances will be brought to the eclipse area by the Oregon Health Authority, particularly in rural areas. Brown gave prior permission to agencies to work directly with each other and their federal and local counterparts without seeking approval from the state.
Brown issued executive orders formalizing the state Office of Emergency Management as the lead agency for state response. The State’s Emergency Operations Plan and Emergency Coordination Center in Salem will be activated as a hub for information and instructions to those in the field.
After crossing Oregon and Idaho, the eclipse will sweep southeast through Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and, South Carolina. It will also pass over tiny slivers of Montana and Iowa.
The eclipse will last longest near Carbondale, Illinois: 2 minutes and 44 seconds.
The biggest cities in the path include Nashville; Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina; Salem; Casper, Wyoming; and just partially within, St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri.
Oregon was in the path of a total eclipse that skirted the Northwest in 1979. Another crossed Hawaii in 1991. But the last total eclipse to cross coast-to-coast was in 1918.
For the U.S., the next total solar eclipse will be April 8, 2024. This time, Oregonians will have to travel to see it. The path of totality will cross from Texas, up through the Midwest, almost directly over Indianapolis, Cleveland and Buffalo, New York, New England, and Maine before heading to New Brunswick, Canada.
— Reporter: 541-525-5280, email@example.com