KLAMATH FALLS, OR -- In less than a month, another eclipse will appear over a portion of Oregon. Klamath Falls is in line for some of the state's best viewing of the annular eclipse on October 14, if the clouds stay away.
Klamath County Commissioner Kelley Minty says they have to be ready for the county’s population to nearly double, "We don’t know how many people will come. We’ve heard estimates anywhere from 5,000 to 60,000; and our county is a county of 73,000 people."
She and other local leaders have talked with officials in Jefferson and Crook counties about their experiences during the 2017 eclipse, discovering traffic is one of the biggest concerns, "We’ve learned through them that there was sometimes upwards of a 30-mile stretch of road at standstill traffic. Not only is it frustrating for people, potentially, but it can also be dangerous when you’re trying to get emergency vehicles around, i.e. an ambulance, and you have 30 miles of backed up traffic." But they're looking at all potential issues, "Whether it’s a lot of people on the roads, whether it’s emergencies that result from a lot of people being here, i.e. somebody accidentally starts a fire, we’re trying to plan for all those scenarios."
Like requests made to Madras and Prineville residents in 2017, Minty urges locals to enjoy the event but shelter in place, if possible. "I’m suggesting, and my plan is to stay off the roads, stay out of the stores, be prepared, have cash on hand, have groceries, have gasoline for your vehicle. Those of us who live here, we’re going to need to try to really live light with a very light footprint over those four or five days, to accommodate all the new people here."
In an annular eclipse, the moon passes between the earth and sun, but it’s farther away and doesn’t completely cover the sun. The eclipse creates what’s known as the ring of fire.