Multiple regions across the US declare state of emergency in preparation for solar eclipse

Multiple regions across the US declare state of emergency in preparation for solar eclipse

Multiple regions across the US declared a state of emergency in preparation for the solar eclipse that will transverse the continental US on April 8. While Monday’s eclipse will be at least partially visible throughout all 48 contiguous states, officials are concerned that tourists will flood areas where the totality can be viewed. The path of totality-where the moon completely blocks the face of the sun –  begins in Texas and heads in a narrow band up toward the Northeast, stretching across portions of 13 US states and parts of Canada and Mexico.

There will not be another visible total solar eclipse in the contiguous U.S. for another two decades, until 2044, according to NASA. 

Many of the regions are expecting record numbers of visitors on the day of the eclipse.

In New York, Officials in Essex County declared a state of emergency Wednesday to run from April 6-10, according to NBC affiliate WPTZ. Oswego County, New York made a similar announcement, according to WSYR.

Officials in Kaufman, Bell, Kerr, Coryell, Gatesville, and Travis counties in Texas announced that a state of emergency will begin on April 5 and go through April 9. 

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a state of emergency declaration on March 26, effective until 11:59 p.m. on April 9

The panic has even spread to Canada. Ontario’s Niagara Region has declared a preemptive state of emergency.

Generally, a state of emergency gives the government the authority to do whatever is necessary for the safety of people and the protection of property. Typical actions can include restricting movements, shutting down traffic routes, suspending regulations to expedite response, and creating new emergency legal sanctions.

State of emergency declarations can trigger several potential means of assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including individual assistance for small businesses and households, as well as public assistance programs for road systems, public facilities and other emergency protective measures.

The total eclipse will pass over Mexico from the Pacific Ocean at around 11:07 AM PDT and continue over the United States, starting in the Southwest and moving northeast until it passes over the shore of the northeast U.S. in northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The eclipse will exit continental North America on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada, at 5:16 p.m. NDT.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between earth and the sun, thereby obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s apparent diameter (as seen from earth) is larger than the sun’s, blocking all direct sunlight and turning day into darkness. As it happens, the moon will make the month’s closest approach to earth (just 223,000 miles) one day before the total solar eclipse, thereby appearing its largest on the day it crosses between the earth and the sun.Total eclipse occurs only in a narrow path across the earth’s surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region thousands of miles wide.

It will be the first solar eclipse visible in the continental U.S. since Aug. 21, 2017, and the only total solar eclipse in the 21st century where the totality will be visible in Mexico, the United States and Canada. It will also be the last total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States for the next two decades – until Aug. 23, 2044.

In its discussion of eclipses, the Talmud (Sukkot 29a) specifically described solar eclipses as bad omens for nations that base their calendars on the solar cycle. At the end of this section describing the omens contained within eclipses, the Talmud states a disclaimer: “When Israel does the will of the place (God), they have nothing to fear from all of this,” citing the Prophet Jeremiah as a source.

Thus said Hashem: Do not learn to go the way of the nations, And do not be dismayed by portents in the sky; Let the nations be dismayed by them! Jeremiah 10:2

The same source in the Talmud specifies that lunar eclipses are bad omens for Israel since the moon represents Israel spiritually. If the lunar eclipse takes place on the east side of the heavens, it is a bad omen for all the nations in the east, and similarly, if it occurs in the western hemisphere of the sky, it is a bad sign for all the nations in the west.

A solar eclipse can only occur because the sun and the moon appear to be the same diameter as seen from the earth. This is due to a unique coincidence that has not been found anywhere else in the galaxy. Though the sun is about 400 times farther away than the moon, the sun is also about 400 times bigger. If the distances or sizes were different than they actually are, eclipses would not take place. 

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