Great American Eclipse
Thanks for stopping by Pocatello! We hope your time in our city and East Idaho for the Great American Eclipse 2017 is both enjoyable and unforgettable. Below you will find a few suggestions and a checklist that we hope will help make your eclipse trip a little easier.
Be prepared. Estimates place the number of eclipse watchers in East Idaho between 50,000 and 3 million and with any large gathering of people, travel delays can happen.
- Fuel – Traffic may be delayed as eclipse watchers go towards the path of totality and after the eclipse has passed. Make sure your tank is topped off before leaving to ensure that you have enough fuel to idle if traffic is slowed considerably.
- Food – As with fuel for your vehicle, your body will need fuel if a long stay in your vehicle becomes a reality. Take enough snacks and other food to ensure you don’t miss a meal.
- Water – Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more. As a guide, adults should consume 64 oz. of water per day and more on hot days. Highs in East Idaho for August hover over 90 degrees, so plan to bring extra water to stay hydrated.
- Medication – Whether you need a daily prescription medication or something over the counter, take what you need with you to the path of totalilty to ensure you have your medicine when and where you need it.
- Double check – Do you have hats, sunglasses, eclipse-watching glasses, and other necessities? Once you’re on the road, it may be difficult to get back so you may only get one chance at getting your packing right.
- Technology – While technology can certainly make things easier, it also has the potential for interruption, especially, if a large number of people attempt to utilize their phones, tablets, or other devices. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, have a paper map that you can refer to.
The Idaho Transportation Department offers an app (available on the App Store and Google Play) that shows current travel times on I-15. You can also view travel information at 511.idaho.gov or tune your radio to 1610 or 530 when you see a road condition advisory. Also, the Idaho State Police sends out updates concerning accidents that may slow travel on I-15. You can view their releases and sign up for updates at isp.idaho.gov/isp/news_releases/index.html. Google Maps has a traffic option that shows current traffic conditions.
If the need arises, the City of Pocatello will be providing updates to the public via this website and its social media channels such as City of Pocatello – City Hall on Facebook and @cityofpocatello on Twitter.
While Pocatello is not in the path of totality, our city will still feel the impact of the eclipse in the form of tourists and travelers. With tens of thousands set to descend on the area, there are a few things residents can do to make their eclipse experience as smooth as possible.
5 to 7 days before
- Get eclipse glasses. If you are going to view the eclipse, only do so through eclipse glasses. Regular sunglasses will not protect your eyes enough to view the eclipse. For more on how to view the eclipse safely, visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.
- Fill up your car with fuel. Due to so many travelers in the area for the eclipse, gas may be limited the closer it gets to Eclipse day.
- Get your groceries. Just like fuel, some items may not be available due to high demand the closer it gets to the Eclipse. Make sure you have enough food in your home to get through the Eclipse and a few days after.
- Have batteries on hand. Make sure you have the right (and fully charged) batteries for radios and flashlights in case of emergency.
- Withdraw cash just in case. Debit/Credit card machines may be overtaxed around the Eclipse. Have some cash on hand in case you need to purchase any supplies.
- Stock up on water. As a guide, adults should consume 64 oz. of water per day and more on hot days. Highs in East Idaho for August hover over 90 degrees, so plan on having a supply of water in your home.
- Have plenty of medicine or other essential items. Make sure any prescriptions you need are filled along with any over-the-counter medications you take regularly.
- Find out who has a landline phone. With so many people predicted to be in the area, cell phone service may be interrupted. Network with your neighbors to see who has a landline in case of emergency.
- Have a 72-hour kit. More on what goes in the kit can be found at https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.
3 days before
- Double-check your supplies. Go through the list above again and make sure you’ve got everything you need.
- If you have any last minute supply needs, run your errands early in the morning.
- Don’t let strangers into your house. Be very aware of requests.
- Scammers and thieves will likely take advantage of the high concentration of people.
- Power service may be interrupted during the eclipse. When the photocell lights, such as street lights, go on during totality, it may over load the electrical grid. It will be at near peak usage for most businesses and residences.
- If the need arises, the City of Pocatello will be providing updates to the public via this website and its social media channels such as City of Pocatello – City Hall on Facebook and @cityofpocatello on Twitter. You can find links to these pages in the “Eclipse Links” section.
The Eclipse and its watchers may be a boon for our local businesses. Here are few additional tips to help businesses make the most of the Eclipse:
- Preparations. If you are in an industry that will benefit from the increase in travelers, we recommend you review your inventory and staffing levels to ensure you can accommodate the upswing in traffic.
- Cash on hand. Debit/credit card systems may become overloaded, make sure you have cash available to facilitate transactions.
- Fire drills/emergency preparations. Review your businesses emergency plan and run few drills to refresh your employees’ memory. Also, review fire extinguish training.
- Sanitation needs. If you need an additional trash container for your business, contact the City of Pocatello Sanitation Department at 208-234-6192.
City officials have spoken with the hotels in the Pocatello/Chubbuck area and many are full starting August 19 with visitors leaving August 21. Many visitors are also making alternative lodging arrangements with family and through services such as Airbnb and many are expected to travel to the area with no lodging plans.
Consider the speed at which you can operate your business. For example, if you are operating a restaurant, consider serving a pared down menu to turn your tables faster.
Several shipping companies will not be offering services north of Pocatello and may shutdown completely as traffic conditions dictate.
The Port of Entry will be open to traffic and service but not to weighing vehicles.The Port will have water and fuel to help assist along I-15.
Oversized loads will be restricted from 4 p.m. Sunday (8/20) until dawn on Tuesday (8/22). This does not apply to the traditional triple trailer. This is for vehicles in excess of 100’ in length, 14‘ in height, and 10’ wide.
The Idaho Transportation Department plans to have all lanes open by Wednesday (8/16) but some projects may not clear until Saturday 8/19.
City officials would like to encourage our local businesses to distribute the “Letter from the Mayor,” “Eclipse 2017 Checklist,” “Family Preparedness Kit for Travelers,” and “Locations for Solar Eclipse Glasses” to visitors. Printable versions of the documents can be found below.