‘Hey, let’s be careful out there’ during the solar eclipse on Monday, April 8

Is all this solar eclipse business just hype?

After living through the Y2K computer scare, we wonder if our path toward totality on Monday, April 8 will be the same path we took in 1999 as the world braced for a doomsday scenario in the year 2000 — only to learn that nothing actually happened.

And after living through the hype of the 2023 FISU Winter World University Games, we wonder if the eclipse will bring the same onslaught of crowds predicted for our region during those games — only to find out that many of those sports enthusiasts never came, and we shut down Lake Placid’s Main Street seemingly for nothing.

For the eclipse, we’ve been warned by emergency officials to expect more than 100,000 solar eclipse watchers converging on the Adirondack North Country Region this weekend for Monday’s big event. They say cell service may shut down with all the activity, roads will be clogged like rush-hour traffic in big cities and we should make sure our households have all the necessities to get through this crisis — like stocking up for a big snowstorm — and our vehicles are filled with gasoline.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors issued a preemptive state of emergency for the eclipse, starting on Saturday, April 6, and they shut down the county government for Monday so workers traveling to Elizabethtown don’t add to the projected traffic problems.

The fact is, we don’t know what will actually happen on Monday; we won’t know until the following day whether this is all hype or not.

However, like the Boy Scouts of America say, “Be prepared!” So that’s what we’re doing. Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

It’s not necessarily the visitors staying in local hotels, inns and short-term rentals that have emergency officials worried. We host big events every year in Lake Placid. It’s the day-trippers — those who are just visiting on Monday to witness the event in the Adirondack Park — that would add to the traffic nightmare and cell service disruption that has been predicted. We simply can’t know ahead of time how many will come for the day.

No matter what you do for the solar eclipse — spending it by yourself in quiet reflection, spending it with others or working your day job (or second job) — we hope you are prepared to enjoy the moment. A total solar eclipse won’t hit the contiguous United States for another 20 years, and some of us won’t be around to see it. So it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event for many.

Like Sgt. Phil Esterhaus used to say at the end of his morning roll call in the 1980s hit TV drama “Hill Street Blues”“Hey, let’s be careful out there.”

Enjoy the moment, have fun and be safe. Let’s make some happy memories on Monday.

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