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By Rampart Stonebridge, updated on March 23, 2024

FAA Warns OF Hundreds Of Closures With Aprils Solar Eclipse

Get ready for a celestial event that's expected to bring millions to a standstill.

The forthcoming solar eclipse is anticipated to cause notable disruptions, from airport delays and reroutes to potential telecommunication challenges, as 3.7 million enthusiasts flock to its path across North America.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has sounded the alarm over expected airport congestions and the need for reroutes, specifically mentioning hundreds of airports from Maine to Texas, including the bustling Dallas-Fort Worth International.

The surge in air traffic is not being taken lightly; with history as a guide, the 2017 eclipse brought some airports to experience a 200 percent increase in their usual traffic.

Aircraft operators are being advised of potential airborne holding and reroutes, and Expect Departure Clearance Times (EDCTs) for domestic Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) arrivals and departures.

One traffic controller recalls the 2017 event with bewilderment, saying, "I came in at 9 a.m. to find the airspace filled with aircraft. I thought the filters were malfunctioning."

A Sight to Behold and the Challenges It Brings

The path of the solar eclipse, stretching from Texas to eastern Canada, will also have a significant impact on ground-level logistics, particularly cellular networks. With potentially 3.7 million people converging in the areas under the eclipse's spell, telecom giants such as T-Mobile and Verizon are bracing for the impact, deploying additional resources to bolster their networks against the expected surge in traffic.

Despite the technological advancements, network providers anticipate that connection delays or dropped calls could be issues due to the high volume of network traffic, reminiscent of the noticeable spike in SMS activity and voice calls during the 2017 eclipse. Gary, presumably a representative from these networks, remarked on the preparations, highlighting the deployment of additional cell-on-wheels to enhance capacity in anticipation of the crowds.

Preparation Is the Key to a Smooth Eclipse Experience

Delta Airlines is tapping into the eclipse excitement, offering special flights that sold out rapidly, demonstrating the high demand for this rare astronomical event—the last total solar eclipse visible from North America until 2044. As the eclipse does its continental traverse on April 8, 2024, areas beneath its path are not only expecting celestial awe but also grappling with the logistical challenges these massive gatherings entail.

On a more terrestrial note, the anticipation extends to the potential effect on solar power generation, with estimates suggesting individual assets could lose up to 16 percent of their daily irradiance. This forecast underlines not only the natural phenomenon’s wide-ranging impact but also the complexities of modern infrastructure reliance on solar energy.

Viewing the Eclipse Safely and Wisely

Echoing the voices of experts, safety during the eclipse cannot be overstated. The guidance is clear: direct observation of the sun during the eclipse without appropriate protection—solar eclipse glasses or other safe viewing methods—is dangerous. This precaution serves as a reminder of the inherent risks in witnessing this marvel of nature without due diligence.

Plans are in motion across states like Arkansas, Maine, and Texas, preparing for both the awe-inspiring and the mundane: ensuring communication lines remain open and the public remains informed and safe. These preparations are a testament to the lessons learned from past eclipses and the ever-present challenge of balancing human curiosity with safety and order.

Why this story matters

The upcoming solar eclipse is more than an astronomical event; it is a litmus test for our infrastructure's readiness in the face of mass gatherings. It showcases the interplay between natural wonders and human ingenuity in overcoming challenges.

Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of preparation, safety, and the collective pursuit of knowledge, serving as a unifying spectacle that transcends geographic and cultural boundaries.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.

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