On April 8, citizens across southern and southeast Missouri will have the chance to see a rare celestial event – a total solar eclipse.

The moon will block the sun’s light and cause a total solar eclipse to be visible across nearly 115 miles of Missouri. Visitors will come to the Show-Me State to witness the event, and numerous community events and festivals are planned along the path of totality. Missourians should make plans early to determine where they will view the eclipse, where they will stay and how best to avoid the extra traffic congestion after the eclipse.

“We anticipate large crowds with possible heavy congestion on the interstates and major highways especially after the eclipse is over,” said Missouri Department of Transportation Chief Safety and Operations Officer Becky Allmeroth. “If you are traveling for the event, leave early, stay put as long as possible and plan to stay after the end of the eclipse to avoid the peak traffic.”

Missouri will be one of 13 states from Texas to Maine to experience the path of totality. There are 31 million people in the United States who live inside the path of totality. A partial eclipse will be visible throughout the remainder of the continental United States.

The path of the viewing in Missouri will cover more than 115 miles of the state. Totality enters Missouri as it crosses the Arkansas State Line southwest of West Plains at 1:54 p.m. CDT. It will follow a diagonal line crossing over Poplar Bluff and exit Missouri at Cape Girardeau as it crosses the Mississippi River at 2:04 p.m. CDT.

Please follow these tips to drive safely on the day of the solar eclipse:

*Don’t stop along the interstate and no parking on the shoulder.

*Find a safe location to view the event and get there early.

*Watch out for increased pedestrian traffic along smaller roads. People may be randomly parking and walking alongside roads in the hour before the total eclipse to get the best viewing.

*Don’t take photographs of the eclipse while driving.

*Turn your headlights on and do not rely on your automatic headlights during the eclipse.

*Avoid travel during the eclipse or in the area of the main path if you can.

*Prepare for extra congestion, especially on interstates and other major roadways for the hours immediately following the eclipse.

*Check traffic conditions on MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map at http://traveler.modot.org/map/ also available as a free app at MoDOT Traveler Information.

*Have a full tank of gas and bring water with you in your vehicle.

For more information on Missouri’s solar eclipse events, visit https://www.visitmo.com/in-the-spotlight/2024-eclipse. For driving tips, visit MoDOT’s website at https://www.modot.org/2024-missouri-solar-eclipse. #Eclipse24  #MOEclipse24

More information on eye safety and scientific aspects of the event can be found on the NASA website at https://science.nasa.gov/eclipses/future-eclipses/eclipse-2024/.

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