Friday, April 12, 2024

Denton expecting 5x normal traffic on Monday after eclipse

Local and state emergency management officials are encouraging residents to plan ahead and avoid highways this weekend and Monday due to out-of-towners visiting North Texas for Monday’s solar eclipse.

On Monday, the path of the total solar eclipse will head northeast from Mexico through the rest of North America, and much of southern and eastern Denton County will be in the path of totality. Many events will be held around Denton County, and the rest of North Texas, that afternoon for local residents and visitors to gather to watch the eclipse.

The city of Denton is not in the path of totality, but it is preparing to see a lot of travelers, the Denton Fire Department said in a social media post on Tuesday. Officials are expecting about a million visitors “darkening the roadways in the DFW area for the event.”

Officials are encouraging local residents to fill up their gas tanks this week to avoid the rush over the weekend and on Monday. Residents should try to “avoid I-35 like the plague” if possible, Friday through Monday, Denton FD said. The Texas Department of Transportation estimates that traffic will be five times heavier than normal on I-35 through Denton after the eclipse, starting around 2 p.m. Residents should also be aware that cell service disruptions will be possible due to the large number of additional people in the area.

“By planning ahead and having a little extra patience, we hope you have a sunny disposition while enjoying the eclipse Monday afternoon,” the department said in a statement.

Early this week, the National Weather Service is projecting a high chance of clouds and rain on Monday. There is a medium chance that North Texans will still be able to see the eclipse through a veil of high clouds or partial cloud clearing.

Even when most of the sun is blocked by the moon, and even if clouds are blocking your view, it is not safe to look directly at the sun without a pair of American Astronomy Society-approved solar glasses. It is only safe to take them off when the sun is totally blocked by the moon.

Click here for more information about the eclipse.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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