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Doom and Gloom Predictions of the People-ocalypse during the eclipse

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#1 CCDMan

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 12:22 PM

I live in central Oregon and under the path and keep hearing and reading predictions of all sorts of horrible stuff due to the influx of people. One of my friends, who is an astronomer and lives only

15 or so miles outside the path, and could come to my place, is staying home due to those rumors. Seems incredible to me.

 

Sampling of various rumors I have heard, either verbally or in print:

 

1) Highways will be parking lots

2) Gas Stations will run out of gas

3) Snake bites will be common and not enough anti-venom in stock

4) Measles epidemic due to influx of people

5) Restaurants packed to the gills and will run out of food.

6) Grocery stores will run out of food.

7) Many break-ins just outside the totality zone.

8) Emergency services unavailable due to saturation.

9) Internet service will go down.

 

10) Dogs and Cats living together  - https://youtu.be/JmzuRXLzqKk

 

Personally, I think most of the rumors are BS hysteria, mostly from the usual suspects (click bait web posts and government agencies looking for additional funding). Some will probably happen, especially the emergency

services and small establishments in isolated spots (think Mitchell Oregon, for example). IMHO, most are probably BS, especially once you get more than an hour's normal drive outside the zone.

It will be interesting and since I can stay home it is unlikely to affect me.....

 

What do you all think?


Edited by CCDMan, 22 July 2017 - 12:54 PM.

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#2 oneofthesenights

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 12:43 PM

Sounds like good times see you there.

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#3 SteveRosenow

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 01:16 PM

I live in central Oregon and under the path and keep hearing and reading predictions of all sorts of horrible stuff due to the influx of people. One of my friends, who is an astronomer and lives only

15 or so miles outside the path, and could come to my place, is staying home due to those rumors. Seems incredible to me.

 

Sampling of various rumors I have heard, either verbally or in print:

 

1) Highways will be parking lots

2) Gas Stations will run out of gas

3) Snake bites will be common and not enough anti-venom in stock

4) Measles epidemic due to influx of people

5) Restaurants packed to the gills and will run out of food.

6) Grocery stores will run out of food.

7) Many break-ins just outside the totality zone.

8) Emergency services unavailable due to saturation.

9) Internet service will go down.

 

10) Dogs and Cats living together  - https://youtu.be/JmzuRXLzqKk

 

Personally, I think most of the rumors are BS hysteria, mostly from the usual suspects (click bait web posts and government agencies looking for additional funding). Some will probably happen, especially the emergency

services and small establishments in isolated spots (think Mitchell Oregon, for example). IMHO, most are probably BS, especially once you get more than an hour's normal drive outside the zone.

It will be interesting and since I can stay home it is unlikely to affect me.....

 

What do you all think?

Some of the predictions I am seeing - coming from established press agencies like KATU in Portland or the Bulletin out of Bend, OR - seem to be pretty valid and have a lot of merit behind them. Recently, I discussed the 1979 eclipse with a coworker who went to Goldendale to see it, and traffic out of there was a madness. 


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#4 grnbrg

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 01:34 PM

While I don't think there will be much of a problem in the central and western states, the population density of the east coast is considerably higher, and I suspect that the more dire predictions may well be somewhat accurate there, particularly if there are weather conditions that suggest last minute travel. 

 

I guess we'll see.  :) 

 

 

 

grnbrg


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#5 erinsastroimages

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 01:55 PM

I live in southern Washington and was going to the Oregon coast for the eclipse, but now I am not going. There may not be shortages or some of the other stuff, but that many people tends to result in insanity and monumental craziness. That is what is frightening me off. I can prepare for a lot, but not the unpredictability of human nature when pushed to extremes.

 

The safest might be to fly in, observe at a remote airport and then fly out again to avoid the masses.

 

It's too bad, I have wanted to see a total solar eclipse for almost all of my life. Anyone with a plane I could bum a ride off of? I'll help with the cost of fuel. :-)



#6 BarrySimon615

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 01:55 PM

Speculation - Likely Reality

 

1) Highways will be parking lots - We were staying at a motel in Bend, OR in June (which is 50 minutes south of Madras) and motel staff told us that the State Police told them to expect an 8 hour drive time betwee Bend and Madras on eclipse morning.
2) Gas Stations will run out of gas - Would not want to test that theory, have seen it happen during hurricane evacuation..
3) Snake bites will be common and not enough anti-venom in stock - Not likely.
4) Measles epidemic due to influx of people - More likely to be an increase in sunburn cases and bug bites and rosacea symptoms.
5) Restaurants packed to the gills and will run out of food. - Lines will be long, bring your own snacks.
6) Grocery stores will run out of food. - Most likely out or low on water and toilet paper.
7) Many break-ins just outside the totality zone. - Maybe above normal but not like a Zombie Apocalypse
8) Emergency services unavailable due to saturation. - Anytime there is a big influx of people for anything, resources are stretched.
9) Internet service will go down. - That is possible, or at least slowed down, like cell phone service in areas where populations are greatly and suddenly increased.
10) Dogs and Cats living together  - https://youtu.be/JmzuRXLzqKk - I guess people coming in rv's and campers will have dogs and cats living together.

 

Sounds like "Woodstock" to me, except there was no internet then.  Al Gore hadn't thought of it!

 

Barry Simon


Edited by BarrySimon615, 22 July 2017 - 01:58 PM.

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#7 erinsastroimages

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 01:58 PM

"Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!" Love that quote and movie. It seems strangely appropriate now. ;-)


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#8 CCDMan

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 02:18 PM

I have a bird's eye view of Hwy 26 east of Prineville from my place and plan to take a time lapse of traffic two weeks before and then the day before and day of. We shall see just how accurate these predictions are.

 

As far as 8 hours from Bend to Madras - the state police are totally full of **** on this, IMHO. They must be looking for extra funding. We see a similar "prediction" all the time here with "this is going to be a horrid fire season" - often followed by hardly any fires at all.

 

Bottom line is that no one can tell ahead of time and it is in lots of folks interests to overestimate this stuff and in no one's interest to underestimate.



#9 CCDMan

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 02:22 PM

The safest might be to fly in, observe at a remote airport and then fly out again to avoid the masses.

 

 

I saw the 1979 eclipse airborne over the coast. Filed an instrument flight plan and then cancelled to VFR on top during the eclipse. Got a few shaky film photos! <g> Seattle Center was showing over 1000 targets in their area along the eclipse path. Nav. lights everywhere. It was interesting....

 

But then that was the Pacific NW in the winter so almost no one saw it from the ground due to clouds - airborne was the only surefire way for those with the resources and ability.


Edited by CCDMan, 22 July 2017 - 03:00 PM.


#10 jpbutler

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 02:58 PM

That's why I am traveling to Nebraska for the Eclipse. Don't expect it to be stupid crowded. 

John 



#11 CCDMan

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 03:07 PM

Some of the predictions I am seeing - coming from established press agencies like KATU in Portland or the Bulletin out of Bend, OR - seem to be pretty valid and have a lot of merit behind them.

Well even "established press" like to spectacularize everything for their own reasons. I would also point out that in my experience the Bend Bulletin has some of the worst science reporting I have seen (relevant only to the eclipse itself, but speaks to their credibility).



#12 DerekKind

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 03:34 PM

That's why I am traveling to Nebraska for the Eclipse. Don't expect it to be stupid crowded. 

John 

I have the same thought. Maybe everyone will. grin.gif


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#13 ed_turco

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 03:46 PM

Those who stay away because of baseless predictions will feel very foolish and deeply saddened after missing out totality.


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#14 BarrySimon615

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 03:58 PM

I would not have called this thread "Doom and Gloom Predictions........", rather I would have called it "Realistic Planning based upon Hard Facts and Some Variables"

 

So what are the Hard Facts?

 

1) Given the world does not end, the eclipse will take place on Monday, August 21st of this year

 

2) Given that we have good data, and it is in concurence, we know what the path is, what time the eclipse starts and ends, and how long it will be at specific locations to a high degree of accuracy.

 

3) There is strong, strong interest in seeing the eclipse from the path of totality given numerous facts not the least of which is sold out hotels and motels within the path and close to it, as well as high prices at those hotels and motels.  Other facts include the unavailability or short supply of various instruments and filters for viewing and photographing the eclipse.  Special eclipse events at various venues within the path also attest to the strong interest.

 

4) Some school jurisdictions along the path of totality (Missouri for one) will already be back in session by eclipse day.  That will help lessen traffic issues in those locations.  Other school jurisdictions along the path of totality (Oregon for one) will not have started for the fall term.  This will exacerbate traffic due to summer vacation and eclipse trips being in play.

 

5) Interest is growing (or being fanned) by a recent up tic in media coverage (and will continue to grow) as we approach eclipse day.

 

6) Weather, being unpredictable, is a variable, but it is a hard fact that at places along the path, people will be scrambling for clear skies.  This will be a problem in many areas and in particular high population density areas.

 

7) Many people have made a plan - where, and with what equipment and with who.  Additionally many know they also need a fairly detailed alternate plan (or several) as well.

 

8) Many people have not made a plan - they do not know where, they don't really know how to view or photograph and with what people they will be going.  They will "wing it".

 

9) Surprisingly many people have heard "total eclipse" and they think they will see a total eclipse from virtually anywhere in the United States.  I have explained the eclipse to a number of friends and relatives and have tried to set them straight on just what they will be seeing (and only if they have proper filtration) from where I live.  Here the Sun will be 75% blocked by the Moon.  Additional people will make last minute attempts to move into the zone of totality.

 

So what are the Variables?

 

1) At all locations along the path we are too far out to reliably predict what the weather will be on eclipse day.

 

2) Due to the above - we don't know if we will have last minute changes in our plans requiring scrambles to other locations.

 

3) We really don't know what problems we may encounter along the road to a Plan B, or C or D location

 

4) We are not 100% sure if there will be any last minute surprises with our reservations.

 

5) Many still have viewing and/or photography plans which are still in flux.

 

6) We don't know, in many cases, exactly where we will set up to watch or photograph the eclipse and what crowds and amenities might be there even with our primary plan.

 

At least a few of these facts and variables apply to everyone and some have concerns and questions about virtually everything listed.  At least this makes everything interesting and exciting.  Kind of reminds me of hurricane preparation at home - going to Wal-Mart, Home Depot or Lowes and scurrying around for supplies with everyone else.  There is an electricity and excitement in the air, kind of fun in a weird sort of way.  

 

Barry Simon


Edited by BarrySimon615, 22 July 2017 - 06:03 PM.

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#15 CCDMan

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 05:39 PM

I think both the interest in and knowledge of, the eclipse, is much less than those of us in the astronomy community think. I have had a number of folks in our area, where no one is more than a normal hour's drive from totality, say that they don't care. Even some really smart folks just don't care (I saw a neurologist in Bend a few months ago that was not going to bother with the eclipse). A large number  of assumptions have been made to arrive at the doom and gloom predictions. I just think a number of those are probably wrong. 

 

I have learned to be pretty wary of predictions by the authorities and the media for things that have almost no hard supporting evidence or precedence. We will only know after the fact. I would say expect just a few problems but be prepared for a lot.

 

Fortunately, I can just stay at home for 1 minute 19 seconds.

 

Surprisingly many people have heard "total eclipse" and they think they will see a total eclipse from virtually anywhere in the United States

 

That one is sure true! In fact I have found that close to 100% of the non-astronomers (and amazingly even some astronomers!) do not have a clue on this. My buddy who has spent the last few months giving eclipse lectures puts it this way  to people:

 

A total eclipse compared to a partial eclipse is like eating ice cream compared to looking at a picture of ice cream!


Edited by CCDMan, 22 July 2017 - 05:43 PM.

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#16 kfiscus

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 05:50 PM

I'm looking forward to a nation-wide debriefing after the eclipse.  I think there will be memorable chaos in several locations made of complex interactions of things we thought of and things no one thought of.

 

One thing I'm confident of, April 2024 will find us better prepared.


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#17 CCDMan

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 06:08 PM

I'm looking forward to a nation-wide debriefing after the eclipse.  I think there will be memorable chaos in several locations made of complex interactions of things we thought of and things no one thought of.

 

One thing I'm confident of, April 2024 will find us better prepared.

Quite true. I was thinking about our area and realized that when it comes to traffic, it is not as simple as just saying "heavy traffic". Where there will be heavy traffic is at the last minute (because of the shorter time interval to spread out the traffic) from population centers to nearby areas of totality. If a particular area of totality is too far away, folks will either not go there or go a day or two earlier and stay there.

 

An example is Central Oregon. The large population centers (and therefore where motels and local eclipse-goers will be) are Bend and Redmond. The closest good totality is Madras, which is straight North of both on a main highway (US 97). That will probably be a zoo on that morning (although 8 hours is still probably BS - you can bike it in four and walk it in 14), I would believe maybe two or three instead of the normal one hour). OTOH, going East, equivalent totality is way out near Mitchell. That is normally more like 1.5 to two hours and not quite as good, road-wise. There are no big towns that way at all so those folks going to the Mitchell area will probably go the day before - therefore I would not expect traffic from Redmond/Bend to Mitchell (US 26) to be as heavy as from Bend to Madras (US 97) that morning.

 

It is those kind of variables that are not being taken into account with blanket statements, yet they matter a lot.


Edited by CCDMan, 22 July 2017 - 06:23 PM.


#18 jklein

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 07:31 PM

And for me, the total eclipse path will pass over my daughter's house in 2024. 

Reasonably cheap place to stay wink.gif.

Meanwhile, enjoying an opportunity to photograph partiality in Houston and practice, practice, practice! 



#19 AUricle

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 09:38 PM

 

One thing I'm confident of, April 2024 will find us better prepared.

Ahh.....but the path through the States will be considerably shorter, so all the predicted problems associated  with a mass migration to the centerline will probably be 2-3x greater...........unless of couse, everyone says, "Pffft, been there, done that"!lol.gif



#20 AUricle

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 12:12 AM

- going to Wal-Mart, Home Depot or Lowes and scurrying around for supplies with everyone else.  There is an electricity and excitement in the air, kind of fun in a weird sort of way.  

 

Barry Simon

You're right Barry. It is palpable.........

Tonight, almost every commercial break on the Science Channel, featured an ad for "99 years in the making" the "live" broadcast of "The Great American Eclipse" beginning  at Noon Aug. 21..........

My sons girlfriend requested the day off from her Ad agency job in Chicago, (to travel with us)  and her superior said "Oh yeah, apparently this is supposed to be a really big deal...and laughed, saying "How cute"................INDEED!lol.gif 



#21 SteveRosenow

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 02:29 AM

 

Some of the predictions I am seeing - coming from established press agencies like KATU in Portland or the Bulletin out of Bend, OR - seem to be pretty valid and have a lot of merit behind them.

Well even "established press" like to spectacularize everything for their own reasons. I would also point out that in my experience the Bend Bulletin has some of the worst science reporting I have seen (relevant only to the eclipse itself, but speaks to their credibility).

 

I hope they at least report some aspects correctly. I was interviewed by them, by phone a month ago.


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#22 BarrySimon615

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 09:05 AM

The press reporting and predictions of major traffic snarls and overcrowding is very much like a weather report.  Potentially heavy thunderstorms are forecast (or not forecast).  Then the day of the predictions come and some people that were all worked up over their expectation of heavy rain and possible flooding are aggravated because they got little rain, if any.  Other people who were giving little credence to the forecast find themselves in the "Mother of all Rain Storms" in a flooded car at the bottom of an underpass that did not look so bad and now all they want to do is blame the weatherman, not for his ignorance, but for theirs.

 

We see this all the time down here in New Orleans where we typically have 65 or so inches of rain every year and where we, in the past 30 years or so have experienced at least a half dozen or so "once in a 1000 year rain events", not to mention hurricanes like Katrina.  My old house, 3 blocks to my south got 4 feet of water in that one.  (I was good where I live, with standing water just past the sidewalk.)  In packing for an astronomical adventure, many of us follow this rule in packing - "It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."  Modifying that rule for the eclipse - "It is better to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised (or to have plans to deal with it), than to discount it and be sorely disappointed (or totally unprepared to deal with it).

 

Barry Simon


Edited by BarrySimon615, 23 July 2017 - 11:27 AM.


#23 REC

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 10:36 AM

I live in central Oregon and under the path and keep hearing and reading predictions of all sorts of horrible stuff due to the influx of people. One of my friends, who is an astronomer and lives only

15 or so miles outside the path, and could come to my place, is staying home due to those rumors. Seems incredible to me.

 

Sampling of various rumors I have heard, either verbally or in print:

 

1) Highways will be parking lots

2) Gas Stations will run out of gas

3) Snake bites will be common and not enough anti-venom in stock

4) Measles epidemic due to influx of people

5) Restaurants packed to the gills and will run out of food.

6) Grocery stores will run out of food.

7) Many break-ins just outside the totality zone.

8) Emergency services unavailable due to saturation.

9) Internet service will go down.

 

10) Dogs and Cats living together  - https://youtu.be/JmzuRXLzqKk

 

Personally, I think most of the rumors are BS hysteria, mostly from the usual suspects (click bait web posts and government agencies looking for additional funding). Some will probably happen, especially the emergency

services and small establishments in isolated spots (think Mitchell Oregon, for example). IMHO, most are probably BS, especially once you get more than an hour's normal drive outside the zone.

It will be interesting and since I can stay home it is unlikely to affect me.....

 

What do you all think?

Sounds like a scene out of the movie "Deep Impact" near the end!


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#24 Tom Polakis

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 12:37 PM

Those who stay away because of baseless predictions will feel very foolish and deeply saddened after missing out totality.

That's my take as well.  In 1991, I listened to similar predictions about Baja for the 1991 eclipse, and stayed home.  I have since regretted it as my one of my worst decisions ever.  It became a valuable life lesson about ignoring hyperbole.

 

Tom


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#25 ed_turco

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 12:46 PM

And for me, the total eclipse path will pass over my daughter's house in 2024. 

Reasonably cheap place to stay wink.gif.

Meanwhile, enjoying an opportunity to photograph partiality in Houston and practice, practice, practice! 

Never ever waste a total solar eclipse; if you are clouded out in 2024, you will remember my words.


Edited by ed_turco, 23 July 2017 - 12:47 PM.

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