Indiana state of emergency declared for eclipse, hundreds of thousands expected to visit on April 8

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
A map of April 2024's total solar eclipse
Are you in the path of totality? See a map of April 8th's total solar eclipse.

INDIANAPOLIS (WLS) -- Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has declared a state of emergency ahead of the April 8 solar eclipse in anticipation of massive crowds coming to see the celestial phenomenon.

The last time Indiana saw a total solar eclipse was in 1869, and the next total solar eclipse visible in the state is not expected to happen until 2099. As a result, Holcomb wrote, "it is anticipated the State of Indiana will see a significant influx of several hundred thousand visitors to witness, what will be for nearly all, a once-in-a-lifetime event."

Holcomb's order says he expects there to be "widespread and significant impact" on the state's critical infrastructure, including transportation, communication and emergency response services. As a result, the governor issued his declaration to be able to call upon other states that are also members of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, or EMAC, in case they have a sudden need for additional resources or other help during the eclipse.

The emergency declaration remains in place until 11:59 p.m. on April 9, the day after the eclipse.

READ MORE: Over 60 Illinois schools to close so students can witness eclipse

The total solar eclipse's path of totality - where the moon completely blocks the face of the sun - stretches across portions of 13 US states as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.

For some, plans for where to fly, drive and stay to hopefully catch a glimpse of the last total solar eclipse in the contiguous United States until 2044 have been in place for months or even years. For others, the concept that this event is not to be missed might just be starting to dawn. People in both camps are scrambling - factoring in escalating costs and weather concerns - to make last-minute decisions about where to try to see the eclipse.

The latest weather forecasts threaten to throw a wrench in people's plans, with cloud cover across much of the path of totality. Experts recommend staying mobile and flexible with your plans.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.