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Texas county issues local state of emergency ahead of solar eclipse

CBS News Live
CBS News Texas Live

BELL COUNTY - Ahead of The Great American Eclipse on April 8, Bell County issued a local state of emergency, anticipating a significant surge in visitors and strained resources.

The county expects its population of 400,000 to double in the days leading up to and after the eclipse, "due to our location in the Path of Totality," when the moon completely covers the sun.

The county expects traffic congestion, fuel shortages and strains on first responders, hospitals, and food. The declaration will help the county coordinate with the state Department of Emergency Management if state assistance is needed.

The declaration also requires property owners to register with the county if they are hosting events like watch parties or camping for more than 50 people, as well as provide "adequate" bathroom and waste disposal facilities.

Bell County says registration information will help public safety officials and first responders during a period when roads and highways may be stressed, and responders may be impeded by population conditions.

When can I see the total solar eclipse?

The eclipse will make its way over North America on April 8. The beginning of the path of totality will be visible in North Texas at 1:40 p.m. CT.

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun, according to NASA. If you're located in the path of totality, the sky will darken, as if it were dawn or dusk.

This will be the last total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. until 2044. 

Experts share do's and don'ts for watching the eclipse: Protect your eyes 02:21
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