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FAA Warns Of Potential Airport Chaos Due To April Solar Eclipse

An air travel warning has been issued for April’s highly anticipated solar eclipse due to ‘a higher traffic volume than normal anticipated at airports.’

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made the announcement, saying airports along and near the ‘path of totality’ will likely experience delays and rerouting from April 7 through April 10.

Hundreds of airports from Maine to Texas are under the warning, including America’s busiest facility Dallas-Fort Worth International which sees more than 200,000 travelers each day.

The announcement comes as state officials fear cellular service could be disrupted also due to the influx of visitors – up to 3.7 million people are set to flock to regions set for the ‘Great North America Eclipse.’

Aircraft should be prepared for potential airborne holding, reroutes, and/or Expect Departure Clearance Times (EDCTs) that may be issued for all domestic IFR arrivals and departures. Traffic Management Initiatives (TMIs) are possible,’ reads the FAA announcement.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association reported air traffic during the 2017 solar eclipse in the US saw an increase at airports in range of the path of totality – with St Joseph in Missouri a record increase of 200 percent.

Several airports were forced to issue ground stops due to other locations experiencing high traffic.

Evansville Regional Airport representative Justin Hobgood said in 2017: ‘I came in at 9 a.m. to find the airspace completely filled with aircraft.

‘I thought the filters were malfunctioning.’

A flight controller in Oregon said the increase in traffic during the 2017 eclipse was incredible and made for a crazy day - imagery of flights shows hundreds of planes traveling in the skies at once
A flight controller in Oregon said the increase in traffic during the 2017 eclipse was incredible and made for a crazy day – imagery of flights shows hundreds of planes traveling in the skies at once
Hundreds of airports from Maine to Texas are under the warning, including America's busiest facility Dallas-Fort Worth International which sees more than 200,000 travelers each day

Hundreds of airports from Maine to Texas are under the warning, including America’s busiest facility Dallas-Fort Worth International which sees more than 200,000 travelers each day

The total solar occurs when the moon completely blocks the face of the sun, briefly turning the outdoors dark during the daytime

A flight controller in Oregon said the increase in traffic was incredible and made for a crazy day – imagery of flights shows hundreds of planes traveling in the skies at once.

And such issues could strike again next month.

When will the total solar eclipse occur?

After passing through Mexico, the first state to see the total solar eclipse on April 8 will be:

Texas (starting at 13:27 CDT)

It will then pass to the following states:

  • Oklahoma (13:43 CDT)
  • Arkansas (13:45 CDT)
  • Missouri (13:53 CDT)
  • Tennessee (13:58 CDT)
  • Kentucky (13:58 CDT)
  • Illinois (13:58 CDT)
  • Indiana (14:01 CDT)
  • Ohio (15:08 EDT)
  • Michigan (15:12 EDT)
  • Pennsylvania (15:15 EDT)
  • New York (15:16 EDT)
  • Vermont (15:25 EDT)
  • New Hampshire (15:28 EDT)
  • Maine (15:28 EDT)

It will finish in eastern Canada. Other parts of the US will just see a partial eclipse – because they are outside the ‘path of totality’.

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These airports include Burlington International Airport, Syracuse Hancock International Airport, Indianapolis International Airport, Fort Wayne Airport, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Buffalo Niagara International Airport, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Delta Airlines has also acknowledged the higher-than-usual volume and has offered two flights to take tourists near the path of totality.

The first flight sold out in under 24 hours, but the company has added a second out of Dallas-Fort Worth on April 8.

‘Delta flight 1010 will depart from DFW at 12:30 p.m. CT and arrive in Detroit together with the other path-of-totality flight (DL 1218 from AUS to DTW) at 4:20 p.m. ET,’ the company shared on its website.

Delta is also advising travelers to board the flight with protective solar eclipse glasses.

Delta Air Lines lead meteorologist Warren Weston said: ‘The April 8 eclipse is the last total eclipse we’ll see over North America until 2044.

‘This eclipse will last more than twice as long as the one that occurred in 2017, and the path is nearly twice as wide.’

As airports prepare for an influx of travelers, states are getting ready for a boom in tourists that could put a strain on local cellular networks causing connection delays and dropped calls.

To ease the burden on many American cities, T-Mobile is deploying additional cell sites that will be on standby in areas expecting high tourist traffic.

In a small Ohio town, which could see an 250,000 visitors, Verizon is setting up a portable tower ahead of the cosmic event.

Rebecca Owens, director of the Richland County Emergency Management Authority (EMA), told the Richland Source: ‘Cell phone (reception) will be very, very sketchy.

‘There will be lots of issues with connectivity and that type of thing.’

A T-Mobile spokesperson told DailyMail.com: ‘T-Mobile’s network is ready for the eclipse. Our emergency teams are working with state and local officials across the country to provide additional support where needed for large gatherings.’

Up to one million are set for Texas, 500,000 in Indiana and Ohio and nearly 400,000 people could travel to New York - and US network providers fear the increased demand could trigger connection delays or dropped calls

Up to one million are set for Texas, 500,000 in Indiana and Ohio and nearly 400,000 people could travel to New York – and US network providers fear the increased demand could trigger connection delays or dropped calls

To ease the burden on American towns, T-Mobile is deploying additional cell sites that will be on standby in areas expecting high tourist traffic

To ease the burden on American towns, T-Mobile is deploying additional cell sites that will be on standby in areas expecting high tourist traffic

The total solar occurs when the moon completely blocks the face of the sun, briefly turning the outdoors dark during the daytime.

The spectacle will be visible to an estimated 32 million people along a narrow path through North and Central America.

It will mark the first total solar eclipse visible anywhere in the world since December 2021, and the first seen from the US since August 2017.

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Whatever your location along the path of totality, the total eclipse should be visible for about four minutes.

However, the solar eclipse itself will not disrupt cellular service – the loads of people in the areas is what state officials are concerned about.

AT&T analyzed network traffic during the 2017 eclipse in the US, finding a more than double spike in SMS activity during the 24 hours of the eclipse path of totality versus the previous Monday.

Just two total eclipses have crossed through the state since it became part of the US after the Louisiana Purchase, the first in 1834 and the second in 1918.

Ulf Ewaldsson, president of technology at T-Mobile, said: ‘T-Mobile is working hand-in-hand with state and local authorities to address the anticipated surge in network traffic to guarantee seamless connectivity for all.’

Arkansas is along the path of totality, where state officials are preparing for the tourist boom that could see the current three million population double in size.

Rep. Davis Whitaker, from Fayetteville, said during a legislative meeting in December: ‘I’m concerned about cellular communication.

‘Are the cellular providers in the state part of this plan?’

Arkansas Division of Emergency Management Director A.J. Gary told council members that cellular connectivity will be one of the top challenges during the eclipse, local 40/29 News reported

‘Cell companies are involved in the communications. We also can bring in additional cell-on-wheels to boost that capacity,’ Gary said.

Up north in Maine, Franklin County is also holding discussions to prepare for limited or even no smartphone service where tens of thousands of visitors are expected, worrying that ‘cell coverage is scarce as it is.’

Franklin County Emergency Services Coordinator Rob Demarse told Adirondack Daily Enterprise that the town is working with the Department of Homeland Security to map all roads for cell coverage.

And in Texas, which is set to see more than one million out-of-towners, officials are advising people to enable Wi-Fi calling in the event of service interruptions.

The Lone Star state could also see a significant drop in solar generation.

Hugh Cutcher, a data scientist for solar power forecaster Solcast, said: ‘Individual assets will lose up to 16 percent of their daily irradiance.

He also predicted there will be an over all 11.7 percent loss of the state’s total daily solar generation.

Like any eclipse, it’s important not to look directly at the sun with the naked eye while the event is happening – not even through sunglasses, binoculars or a telescope.

A simple pinhole projector, solar eclipse viewing glasses, which can be purchased online, or special solar filters are much safer.

Source: Dailymail

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