Why local EMA says you should stock up on food, fuel & water ahead of eclipse

ELYRIA, OHIO (WJW) — On April 8, day will turn into night for a once-in-a-lifetime eclipse. Although it’s still more than a month away, a word of caution is being issued now by Lorain County Emergency Management: stock up on three days worth of food, fuel and water.

“What we could have is crowds here that we’re not used to,” said Dave Freeman, Lorain County EMA Director. “We’re not set up infrastructure-wise for that, we don’t have the roads.”

Freeman said the county is a special destination for the eclipse. He said so far, more than 500,000 people are expected to visit Ohio to view the eclipse. In Lorain County, the population could swell up to three times its usual size.

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“Along the path of totality, that’s where you’re going to have the longest eclipse, where you’ll see the entire thing from start to finish,” said Freeman. “We’re looking at right around four minutes or so for the totality.”

Lorain County EMA is bracing for potential challenges, and advising people to be prepared for possible traffic issues.

“A lot of the roads here are two lanes,” Freeman said. “This is not Chicago, this is not Cleveland, where we have a bunch of four-lane, six-lane roads coming in so the traffic could be pretty extreme here if we get crowds more than we expect.

“That’s where the three days of food and water comes, from not that there’s going to be any shortage of food or water, but what they’re maybe is difficulty getting anywhere.”

In downtown Amherst, there’s more excitement than worry about the temporary population boom.

“I’m excited to see the streets full and what it can do for businesses down here,” said Josh Campbell.

Diane Citro, owner of Park Lanes said the eclipse traffic will help more people know their business is one to support.

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“We are here and we really welcome people and just want to welcome them to our establishment,” said Citro. “The fact we have this during our lifetime is just an amazing experience so just bring it on.”

It is still too early to know exactly how many people will visit Lorain County in particular. Freeman said this word of caution about food, fuel, and water is not intended to alarm, rather he wants people to be prepared for the unexpected.

“This is not doomsday,” Freeman said. “Prepare yourself, just be ready for it.”

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