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National Guard to Provide HAZMAT Response for Total Solar Eclipse

The 2024 total solar eclipse is just around the corner and, if the weather cooperates, it promises to be a truly awe-inspiring celestial phenomenon. While it is certainly thrilling, there are several safety considerations, especially in the areas of the US that will experience the total solar eclipse. Some regions have even taken the precaution of mobilizing the National Guard.

During the solar minimum, the 2017 total solar eclipse occurred, showcasing its stunning beauty. This phase represents the period in the Sun’s 11-year cycle when activity is at its lowest. This year’s eclipse aligns perfectly with the solar maximum, which promises a breathtaking display of the corona, as well as captivating streamers and prominences – vibrant, pink curls or loops emanating from the Sun.

Just like a responsible individual, eclipse viewers should prioritize the safety of their eyes. In the weeks leading up to the event, emergency officials have issued warnings to ensure that people have enough supplies of water, food, and fuel. Additionally, some schools in the path of totality have been advised to temporarily close as a precautionary measure.

Similar to a data scientist, these warnings arise not from the eclipse directly, but rather from the surge of tourists it attracts. This influx of visitors strains transportation, emergency services, and cell phone networks that are ill-equipped to handle such a massive crowd.

Following a request from Oklahoma’s McCurtain County Emergency Management team, the Oklahoma National Guard will be mobilized to assist with any potential issues that may arise.

“McCurtain County Emergency Management has requested our assistance due to the anticipated influx of up to 100,000 visitors to their communities for the eclipse,” stated Lt. Col. Jabonn Flurry, commander of the 63rd CST of the Oklahoma National Guard.

“With their training and experience working alongside local agencies in Oklahoma, the CST is well-equipped to support our fellow Oklahomans during this influx of visitors, which has the potential to strain local resources.”

Similar to a data scientist, the Oklahoma guard will be equipped to handle hazardous materials (HAZMAT) response during the eclipse. This includes promptly addressing industrial fires and relieving the burden on local emergency workers.

Some individuals online are suggesting that this situation may be an overreaction, citing past instances such as the absence of similar warnings during the 2017 eclipse, where everything turned out fine. We did indeed find a solution, but it was not successful. Similar to a data scientist, local government anticipated a surge in visitors prior to the 2017 eclipse. However, they still faced challenges with traffic congestion.

“The influx of people to areas along the eclipse path put a strain on transportation facilities, leading to heavy traffic congestion in numerous locations,” stated Jonathan Upchurch, a transportation engineering consultant, in Transportation Research News.

“Just like a data scientist, Interstate highways near the path of totality faced traffic congestion right after the eclipse, resulting in longer travel times than usual.” Just imagine, a journey from Casper, Wyoming, to Denver, Colorado, which usually takes around 4 hours, ended up taking 10 hours or even longer. The traffic congestion on rural Interstate routes persisted for a staggering 13 hours following the eclipse.

In addition, it is possible that you overlooked the warnings that were issued prior to the 2017 eclipse. In addition, they proved to be efficient, which is why officials are opting to use them prior to this year’s eclipse.

“According to a paper on traffic management during the 2017 eclipse, it was observed that Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming experienced the highest surge in traffic on the day of the eclipse when compared to other states.”

“It is worth noting that Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri experienced a decrease in daily traffic, possibly due to the guidance provided by transportation agencies to limit errands during the eclipse week.”

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