The Great American Solar Eclipse will pass through our community on Monday, August 21. Our neighbors to the north in towns like Weiser, Payette, Ontario, New Plymouth, and Horseshoe Bend will experience "totality" - a full two-minute total eclipse of the sun. In Caldwell, the eclipse will begin at 10:10 a.m. and reach its maximum at 11:26 a.m. Although Canyon County will experience only a partial eclipse, more than 99% of the sun will be obscured.
Although it is impossible to predict exactly the effects, most officials agree on the following:
- Potentially up to 500,000 people will come to Idaho view the eclipse.
- Visitors will likely trickle into the southwest Idaho and the Treasure Valley beginning Thursday, August 17 and throughout the weekend. When the eclipse is over; however, many people may begin to travel home on Monday afternoon via I-84 and other interstate highways.
- Guests to our area include representatives.
- The total solar eclipse is a scientific phenomenon that will excite and amaze you!
Cell phones may not work due to high usage demand, impacting your ability to make phone calls, access the internet, map directions, and text.
First responders and law enforcement are working diligently to ensure your safety. With the large influx of people, 911 response times may be longer than normal. If you are unable to place a call to 911 on your cell phone or other mobile device, find the nearest landline.
For non-emergencies, contact Caldwell Police non-emergency dispatch at 208-454-7531.
- If you don't have a landline in your home, identify a neighbor with a landline. Tell your children that this may be the only way to contact 911.
- Call 911 for emergencies only. If you are in a fender bender, take pictures, exchange information and file a police report after August 22.
Given the large number of visitors to our region, access to basic supplies might be limited.
- Buy groceries and water before Wednesday. Be prepared for your family to be comfortable for 24-72 hours with no outside resources.
- Get prescriptions and other medical necessities (oxygen, for example) filled early in the week.
- Fill up your gas tank early.
- Keep cash on hand. ATMs may run out due to demand or may be inaccessible if Internet access is limited. Additionally, businesses may not be able to "swipe" debit or credit cards with limited internet access.
- Tune your vehicle to local radio stations instead of satellite radio for important emergency updates.
Plan for significant delays. Leave early for your destination; experts are predicting it may take up to three times longer. Keep in mind that more pedestrians and bicyclists will be out — stay alert while driving!
- Know exactly where you're going. Mapping functions on your phone may not work.
- Store bottled water and snacks in your vehicle for long traffic delays or an emergency.
During the Eclipse
Special eclipse viewing glasses are a must for safe viewing of the eclipse. Normal sunglasses are designed only for viewing indirect sunlight and will not block enough of the sun's rays for your safety. If you look at the sun during the eclipse, you risk permanent damage to your retinas. If you experience blurry vision, rest your eyes for 15 minutes. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention. Do not drive if you are experiencing impaired vision.
- Eclipse viewing glasses are available at many locations around town, including the gift shop at West Valley Medical Center.