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Agencies Continue Preparation for Great American Eclipse

Lincoln, NEB. – Nebraska’s state agencies and partners continue preparations for what the total solar eclipse, occurring Monday, Aug. 21. Listed below are specific preparations conducted by numerous stakeholders in this statewide effort.


Governor’s Office

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is excited to welcome visitors from around the globe to the Good Life to witness the rare phenomenon as it crosses Nebraska.


"Nebraska’s wide open spaces offer great viewing locations," Gov. Ricketts said. "This will be a very cool experience that we hope many Nebraskans and visitors from across the country and around the world will enjoy. The safety and well-being of Nebraskans and visitors is our number one priority.  We are asking everyone to be alert and to plan ahead. Whether you’re traveling to work or making plans to view the eclipse, plan for congested traffic and extended travel times.”


Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

The State Emergency Operations Center, NEMA Watch Center and Joint Information Center are monitoring events over the weekend as visitors arrive in the state for the eclipse.  A daily operations call with all state agencies is held each morning at 9:30 a.m. for situational awareness.


Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Staying cool, keeping hydrated, and moderating outdoor activities during hot August weather can help Nebraskans and our eclipse visitors prevent heat-related illness, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The risk for heat-related illness and death is higher for infants and the elderly, whose internal thermostats do not regulate body temperature well. People with chronic medical conditions, outdoor workers and people who exercise outside are also at increased risk.

Your best defense against heat-related illness is prevention. Use these tips to stay safe and healthy:

  • Stay Cool
    • Wear loose, light-colored clothing and sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher).
    • Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body’s ability to dissipate heat.
    • If you don’t have air conditioning, go to a public building where you can cool off.
    • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when temperatures reach the high 90s, fans won’t prevent heat-related illness. Take a cool shower or bath or move to an air-conditioned place.
    • If outdoors, slow your pace and take frequent rest breaks.
    • Try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Keep Hydrated
    • Drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.
    • Avoid alcohol and limit drinks with caffeine.
  • Remember Others
    • Check on elderly friends and neighbors. Make sure they’re staying cool and hydrated.
    • Never leave children or pets in a parked car.
    • Pets can suffer from heat-related illness too. If your pet spends its days outside, make sure it has plenty of fresh water and shade.
    • Playground equipment can get very hot so parents should do a touch test before letting their children play on it and be sure kids wear shoes to protect feet from hot pavement or surfaces.
  • Stay Informed
    • Check your local news for heat advisories, alerts and safety tips.
    • National Weather Service’s heat index shows how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the temperature - http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/heat_index.shtml.
    • Learn the symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
      • Heat exhaustion can develop following exposure for several days to high temperatures. Symptoms include rapid heartbeat, cold, pale clammy skin, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.
      • Heatstroke, the most serious heat-related illness, is a medical emergency characterized by a body temperature of 103 degrees F or greater. Symptoms include hot, red skin, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, disorientation, delirium, and coma.
  • Anyone suffering from these conditions should be moved into the shade or air conditioning. If heatstroke or serious heat exhaustion is suspected, get emergency medical assistance.
  • Like these tips? Be sure to follow DHHS on Facebook and Twitter.

Nebraska Department of Transportation

NDOT staff anticipate traffic volumes to continue to increase through the weekend.  Please be patient when planning travel and allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at your location.  For travel tips, please visit http://dot.nebraska.gov/news-media/eclipse/


Stay up-to-date on the most recent closure information at www.511.nebraska.gov or by downloading our free app Nebraska 511 for Apple and Android devices. 


Nebraska State Fire Marshal

The State Fire Marshal continues to prepare for the events surrounding and on the day of the eclipse. SFM staff are prepared to support and assist local fire departments and first-responders’ efforts. Remember to pay attention to your surroundings and know your location in case an emergency arises. In less populated areas, it is important to provide at least two crossing county roads to dispatch centers when requesting emergency services.  SFM staff are working closely with other agencies and will be on-site at the State Emergency Operations Center on the day of the event.


Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Within the path of totality, all campsites at Game and Parks state park areas that can be reserved are already booked. Each vehicle entering a state park area needs a park entry permit, which can be purchased at OutdoorNebraska.org. All park areas within the path are expected to be busier than normal. Visit outdoornebraska.gov/eclipse/ for state park area eclipse information.


Nebraska Military Department

The Nebraska National Guard has placed units in an elevated level of readiness as Monday’s total eclipse approaches. These units are trained and equipped to provide assistance in a number of different missions should local or state emergency response officials require additional capabilities. This includes a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and crew that will be positioned in North Platte on Monday, Aug. 21, with a Bambi Bucket to provide fire suppression support if necessary. Additionally, members of the Nebraska National Guard public affairs office are providing assistance to the Nebraska Joint Information Center located at the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency in Lincoln.


Nebraska State Patrol

The Nebraska State Patrol continues preparations for Monday’s eclipse and the additional traffic expected. NSP would like to remind all drivers to follow traffic safety laws, wear seat belts, and give yourself extra time to reach your destination on Monday. We have received numerous questions from out-of-state drivers about Nebraska roads. NSP encourages everyone to follow @NEStatePatrol on Twitter for real-time traffic information on Monday, as provided from troopers around the state. Another great resource will be NDOT and www.511.nebraska.gov or the Nebraska 511 app.



Nebraska Tourism Commission

Nebraska’s Tourism Industry is the third largest industry in the state with more than 46,000 tourism professionals working statewide to provide an excellent experience for our guests from around the world. Tourism staff pleased to report that communities on and around the path of totality have received more attention this year than ever before. The Nebraska Eclipse media publicity has been phenomenal.


Tourism estimates that by Sunday, August 20, there will be more than $80 Million dollars in AVE (Advertising Value Equivalency). This coverage will reach more than 7 billion people worldwide. The stories have run in prestigious publications like The Washington Post, Forbes, The Telegraph (UK), USA Today, Time Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, CNN.com and television stories have also run on virtually every major U.S. television news program available. For more information about eclipse events statewide go to www.VisitNebraska.com.


American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has issued news releases to Nebraska and Kansas media on how travelers can best be prepared for a trip to or through the Nebraska path of totality. Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services Volunteers are prepared in case they are needed in the region. The organization is also monitoring its blood supplies in all locations across the state and nation should the need arise.



Additional News of Note

  • Watch for debris on the highway as you travel to your eclipses viewing locations. There have been a few reports of cinder blocks in garbage bags on Nebraska roads in recent days and drivers are urged to use caution around any debris they see on the road.
  • Up-to-date weather eclipse information is available on Nebraska Weather Service: http://www.weather.gov/oax/weatherstory
  • The Nebraska Joint Information Center will use the hashtag: #Neclipse17 for all tweets.