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State agencies announce plans for Great American Eclipse

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Posted at 1:29 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-31 14:29:40-04

Governor Pete Ricketts, eight state agencies and two national organizations outlined their plans for the Great American Eclipse in a joint press conference Monday morning. 

The total solar eclipse will occur on Aug. 21 and is expected to bring in more than 500,000 people to the state, according to a release. 

“We are excited to welcome visitors from around the globe to beautiful Nebraska to witness this rare phenomenon as it crosses our great state,” Governor Ricketts said. “The wide open spaces of Nebraska offer great viewing locations.  We invite visitors to come to Nebraska and make a weekend of the event by visiting communities across the state which are hosting great events." 

Here is what each organization is doing to prepare: 

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency is using the Incident Command System, the same system it uses for weather disasters, to prepare for the event.  

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is creating public safety announcements for radio. 

The Nebraska Department of Transportation is encouraging Nebraskans to make travel plans well in advance and gave a series of tips for people on the road including: Don't stop on the shoulder of the interstate, manually turn on your headlights when the eclipse blocks the sun and don't wear opaque eclipse glasses while operating a vehicle. 

Nebraska Fire Marshal Jim Heine is reminding people to pay special attention to campfires and make sure smoking materials are safely extinguished, while the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is setting up more sites and family friendly spaces to enjoy the eclipse. 

Additionally, the Nebraska State Patrol will have real-time traffic flow information and will receive assistance from the NSP Aviation Support Division and the Nebraska Tourism Commission has been working with communities throughout the state to prepare for the last year. 

 

“This is an exciting time for Nebraska,” John Ricks, director of the Nebraska Tourism Commission, said.  “We hope to provide an unforgettable experience for our visitors.  Right now, many hotels and campsites within the path of totality are full, but it is always a good idea to call and check as there may be cancelations.  You can also check out hotels within a 60 minute drive from where you plan on viewing the eclipse.”

The National Weather Service and the American Red Cross will also have representatives in Nebraska.