Canada’s Niagara Region Declares State of Emergency Ahead of April 8 Total Solar Eclipse

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Canada’s Niagara Falls region has officially declared a state of emergency as it is preparing to host nearly a million visitors during the upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8. April 8 is going to be a landmark event considering the fact that the region hasn’t experienced an event like this since 1979.

Canada’s Niagara Falls region has been classified as one of the best locations for witnessing the total solar eclipse.

Cautionary Measures Are Being Taken

Preparing for a huge surge of visitors Jim Bradley, Chairman of the Niagara Region, has officially declared a state of emergency “out of an abundance of caution.”

Source: Pexels

It is anticipated that this will be a “once-in-a-lifetime event.”

Measures Are Being Taken to Safeguard Everyone’s Health and Safety

According to a press release for the Niagara region, “Declaring a state of emergency … strengthens the tools the region has at its disposal to safeguard the health and safety of residents and visitors and protect our critical infrastructure in any scenario that might arise.”

Source: Pexels

The state of emergency comes into effect on Thursday.

Hotels and Rentals In The Region Have Been Booked in Advance

The majestic waterfall, which is situated on the Canadian-U.S. border, lies in the trajectory of the solar eclipse.

Source: Pexels

Rentals and hotels in the region have been booked in advance by people who are planning to witness a rare phenomenon at one of North America’s greatest natural wonders.

Anticipated Highest Ever Number of Visitors

Ontario city’s mayor Jim Diodati has predicted that it will be “by far the biggest crowd” the Canadian side of Niagara Falls has ever had.

Source: Pexels

According to Diodati’s estimation, the region is likely going to be hosting up to a million people. This is a massive number especially when compared to the fact that the region generally has around 14 million visitors coming in throughout the course of an entire year.

Modifications Will Be Made

Some of the services and programs offered in the region will be modified. Several facilities may remain closed in order to prevent road congestion on April 8.

Source: Pexels

During the eclipse, the moon will completely block the sun’s rays for a few minutes.

The Path of the Eclipse

The eclipse is expected to arrive at the Pacific Coast of Mexico in the morning. Thereafter, it will traverse diagonally across the U.S. from Texas to Maine.

Source: Pexels

The eclipse will conclude in the eastern region of Canada where it arrives in late afternoon. The majority of the continent will only witness a partial eclipse. 

The Region’s Facilities and Services May Become Overwhelmed

Officials have shared their concerns regarding the huge influx of people causing a state of overwhelm in the region.

Source: Pexels

There may be traffic congestion, and cellphone networks, as well as emergency services, could potentially become overwhelmed.

State of Emergency Has Been Declared As A Precautionary Step

Mayor Diodati explained declaring a state of emergency is an important cautionary step under the circumstances.

Source: Pexels

Diodati said the state of emergency “potentially opens us up if we need any assistance with funding, provincially or federally.”

Helps Visitors Be More Mindful

Diodati believes declaring a state of emergency serves as a strong signal to visitors prompting them to be “mindful of the situation” and be better prepared.

Source: Pexels

Talking about the significance of the event, Diodati said, “It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where one of the great natural wonders is going to meet one of the great celestial events at the same time, at the same place.”

Maintaining The Region’s Critical Infrastructure

According to the Niagara Region press release, “Regional Chair Jim Bradley proactively declared a State of Emergency for Niagara Region under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), effective today, March 28.”

Source: Pexels

The press release also said, “Residents and visitors to Niagara are welcome to safely enjoy the eclipse on April 8, and Niagara’s local governments, emergency responders, schools and other organizations have been working together with the Province and other key partners to make that possible.”

Recommendations for Visitors

The press release also offered several recommendations to visitors. It is recommended that visitors “wear only ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse glasses; don’t use damaged glasses, regular sunglasses, or do-it-yourself filters.”

Source: Pexels

It is also recommended that visitors “Be prepared for crowds and long lines.” The press release suggests, “Consider filling up your gas tank, getting groceries and running errands before the eclipse.”

Visitors Can’t Stop Their Cars on Highways

The press release instructs, “Follow local directives and road signage as you travel on April 8.”

Source: Pexels

People have been instructed to not stop their car to take pictures or to observe the eclipse while travelling on highways. This is important for preventing traffic congestion.

Schools Will Remain Closed

The vast majority of schools in the region will remain closed on April 8.

Source: Pexels

People have been advised to have a “childcare plan in place” while also making sure that “children know how to view the eclipse safely.”

Timing of the Eclipse

The Niagara region website cautions visitors from looking directly at the sun. The website says, “Although the moon will be covering most of the sun, it’s still dangerous to look directly at the sun during this time.”

Source: Pexels/Stefan Grage

Talking about the timing of the eclipse, the website says, “In Niagara, the eclipse starts at 2:04 p.m. and ends at 4:32 p.m. At 3:18 p.m., the moon will cover 100 per cent of the sun.”

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