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Officials are warning people to stock up on supplies before the upcoming solar eclipse

Officials are warning people to stock up on supplies before the upcoming solar eclipse

The total solar eclipse is expected on April 8.

ICYMI, a solar eclipse is coming - and people in some areas are being warned to stock up on supplies in preparation.

No, this doesn't mean that scientists are expecting it to bring some kind of alien invasion or the end of days.

But rather, small towns and rural enclaves in prime spots to watch the total solar eclipse will likely be inundated with huge crowds of Sun chasers, desperate to get a glimpse of the extraordinary event.

Diane Miller / Getty
Diane Miller / Getty

It's set to happen on April 8, crossing North America and passing over Mexico, United States and Canada.

And this time round, it seems like we're learning from experience.

Back in 2017 there was another total solar eclipse, and Tom Traub, who is part of NASA's eclipse ambassador program, said he traveled to to Beatrice, Nebraska to watch the event. The town's normal population is 12,000 - but it grew to around 40,000 as eclipse watchers descended.

“You had gas stations running out of gas," Traub said, who also serves on the board that runs the Martz-Kohl Observatory near Frewsburg, New York. “You had restaurants running out of food. You had restrooms that were full and closed.”

So that's why places this year are preparing for a "worst-case scenario", he said.

The path of totality - where the Moon's shadow will completely cover the Sun - will run across North America, from Texas to Maine.

Anadolu / Contributor / Getty
Anadolu / Contributor / Getty

Along this route, residents and visitors have been urged to be careful - extra fuel has been brought into some areas, while Oklahoma has said the National Guard will help.

Because of the heavy traffic that might come with people flocking to these areas, hundreds of schools are closing or switching to remote learning - in states including Texas, Indiana, Ohio and New York.

Cell towers could get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people, meaning signals get jammed, so emergency officials have recommended packing hard copies of maps and a compass should eclipse-chasers need them.

“Write down key phone numbers just in case,” said the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, about 50 miles east of Austin.

Counties recommend making sure your car is fully fueled and you have sufficient grocery supplies - whether you're a local or a visitor.

SOPA Images / Contributor / Getty
SOPA Images / Contributor / Getty

Traub suggests people treat the eclipse like a snowstorm and said: “Stock up, get ready, prepare to hunker down.”

And that's not the only thing you should be careful of during the eclipse.

Dr Brad Raetzke, an emergency room doctor in Columbus, Ohio, reminded people to use protective glasses if they're going to stare into the Sun, to avoid eye injuries.

Featured Image Credit: Matt Anderson Photography / Images By Tang Ming Tung / Getty