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MDOT Advises to Plan Ahead for Eclipse Viewing

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) advises motorists to avoid stopping or parking along any of Mississippi?s highways or interstates to observe the eclipse. For more information on the solar eclipse, visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov.   

JACKSON – Citizens and travelers throughout the country will have a chance to see a rare celestial event next week?a total solar eclipse. While it may be a brief event in this part of the country, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) reminds motorists that it is still important to drive safe on state highways during the eclipse.

On Monday, August 21, the moon will block out a portion of the sun?s light, causing a total solar eclipse in some parts of the country. The path where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun?s tenuous atmosphere?the corona?will stretch from Salem, Ore., to Charleston, S.C. Observers outside of this path will see a partial solar eclipse, where the moon covers part of the sun.

While Mississippi will not be in the path for a total eclipse, observers could see anywhere from 80 to 90 percent obscurity of the sun when it passes through the state. The eclipse peak is expected to occur around 1:30 p.m. CDT in most areas of the state. The moon will begin blocking the sun?s path around 11:50 a.m. and is expected to fully clear the sun?s path by approximately 2:50 p.m.  

?Mississippi motorists should make plans early to determine where they will view the eclipse, where they will stay and how best to avoid extra traffic congestion,? said Jarrod Ravencraft, public affairs director. ?Motorists are NOT allowed to park along the shoulders or ramps of Mississippi highways to view the eclipse.?

MDOT offers the following travel tips for the day of the eclipse.

  • Don?t stop along the interstate or park on the shoulder during the event.
  • Exit the highway to safe location to view and/or photograph the eclipse.
  • Don?t take photographs while driving!
  • Don?t try to wear opaque eclipse glasses while operating a vehicle.
  • Turn your headlights on — do not rely on your automatic headlights when the eclipse blocks out the sun.
  • Watch out for pedestrians along smaller roads. People may be randomly parking and walking alongside the roadside in the hours around the eclipse to get the best view.
  • Prepare for extra congestion especially on the interstates in the path on the day before, day of and day after the eclipse.
  • Avoid travel during the eclipse or in the area of the main path if you can.

For more information on the solar eclipse, its path and how to view it with proper safety glasses or other techniques, visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov.   

Stay updated on live travel and weather information 24/7 with MDOT?s free travel resources. Visit MDOTtraffic.com, download the MDOT Traffic Mobile App or call 511.


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