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Essex County prepares for solar eclipse on April 8

On Monday, April 8, Southern Ontario will experience an event that has not happened here in nearly 100 years.

At 1:58:11 p.m. a partial eclipse will begin and continue for nearly two-and-a-half hours. A full eclipse from 3:12:50 until 3:16:06 will occur and it’s the first time since 1925.

Field officers from Emergency Management Ontario told Essex County council what the region should prepare for during last Wednesday’s meeting.

“For many of us, myself included, it’s probably the only one we’ll ever get to see. We keep that in mind, it’s a very large event,” said St. Clair Sector Field Officer Darin Dees.

According to Dees and Holly Robert, Essex County could see an influx of visitors to the area to see the eclipse which could put a strain on infrastructure including traffic jams and possibly an increase in the need for emergency services.

“Depending on the weather, you could see a large migration of people to the event,” said Dees.

In 2017, the United States experienced a full eclipse and according to Robert, the information gathered there is being put to good use here in Ontario.

“We’ve been fortunate that the U.S. got to experience this in 2017. We are grateful to take some of the lessons learned from what they experienced,” said Ward.

One of those is to not directly look up into the sky during the full eclipse without wearing protective, certified glasses. For those who want to view it, the best protection to prevent eye injury is ISO 12312-12 special solar filter and Robert and Dees warned against imitation eye wear that could harm your eyes.

“If the weather is good, we could see a lot of people coming to the north shore of Lake Erie and to the Niagara region,” said Dees.

According to Essex Deputy Mayor Rob Shepley, Essex Councillor Rodney Hammond has organized an event at Colchester Harbour to view the eclipse and a special sailing of the Pelee Island ferry is scheduled with 300 tickets already sold out, including three to County Warden Hilda MacDonald.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing this,” said MacDonald.

Students are being let out of school at 1 p.m.

A solar eclipse is when the sun’s disk is completely covered by the moon’s shadow. The next one is not expected until 2099.

MacDonald wanted to know just how dark it will get in Essex County, asking, “will it be similar to being like 8 p.m. in the winter? What kind of darkness is expected?”

Robert said it will be as dark as a winter’s night and that the temperature could dip by five to eight degrees.

Essex County prepares for solar eclipse on April 8

By Fred Groves


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