How will this event affect you?
• Do not travel during the main eclipse event on August 21
• Stock up on water, food and gas
• Treat event as major disaster (the less people on streets the better)
• This may be the biggest event Boonville and Cooper County has ever experienced

Officials from Boonville and Cooper and Howard counties are getting plans in order to deal with the influx of visitors that will come to view the August 21 Complete Solar Eclipse. Boonville could exceed 60,000 people in its city limits according to the latest estimates. Of course, the true magnitude of the event will not be felt until it has come.

For Boonville, one focus has been on how to ferry visitors around town. Boonville Tourism Director Katie Gibson said that visitors will be utilizing a bus with stops designated around town. She hopes this will help with congestion between the two prime viewing spots in town, which are Kemper Park and the airport.

Cooper County EMA Director Larry Oerly said that the Cooper County Youth Fairgrounds will be used for a viewing spot as well. He urged any overflow to be sent to the fairgrounds.

“We can park a lot of people at the fairgrounds,” Oerly said.

As local officials get their plans ironed out, they are urging residents to get everything done such as grocery shopping and anything else before the Eclipse weekend. With visitors expected as early as Friday, local resident are told to stay home during the event. Officials have been told that because of the influx of people, there also could be a gas shortage.

Several area restaurants who are normally closed on Mondays will be open to help serve the people who need food during their stay in the community. To help with demand, local organizations will be selling items as well.

Emergency personnel are also working with responders and the hospital to work out plans for emergencies that could arise. Two of the area’s helicopter services have been contacted, but they are also covering a vast territory, which is primarily effected with the eclipse. Emergency personnel along with law enforcement will be strategically placed around the city and county to better handle emergencies in a potential gridlocked state.

Boonville Public Works Director M.L. Cauthon said that residents won’t have to go anywhere to view anything because the location of the eclipse will be right overhead, which anyone could see anywhere outside.

While some may understand the draw of the eclipse, many, who have never witnessed one may be asking what the huge deal may be. Why do millions flock to a thin line to see something that happens around the world each year? The answer is that the eclipse in this area, especially in the continental United States, is rare.

Officials warn watchers not to look at the sun before or after the totality event. Eclips2017.org has a complete description of what totality will be like during the almost three minutes of complete darkness.

“At the time known as C1 (first contact), the Moon's disk will first touch the edge of the Sun. Now, the Sun is a very bright thing, and you cannot look at it withoutthe right eye protection in front of your eyes. So don't try. Assuming you have the right filters in front of your eyes, and always keeping them there when you're looking at the uneclipsed or partially-eclipsed Sun, you should try and find that very first little nibble the Moon makes as it's first touching the Sun's disk. Invariably, there will be someone who finds it before you, and shouts "First Contact", just to show off that they were the first ones to see it. This will always generate a flurry of activity, as everyone scurries to their equipment to get a glimpse of this very important, but very anticlimactic event. At this earliest stage of the eclipse, it's easy to see the "bite" in the Sun grow slowly larger, and you can be sure that someone will say "Looks like the astronomers were right, there is going to be an eclipse today." That's a pretty cheesy comment, but as observers, it always serves to remind us that we're about to experience one of life's ultimate thrills, and there is no other place on earth we'd rather be. Over the next hour and a half, this bite will grow, and will turn the Sun into more and more of a crescent shape. You have to really use your imagination to visualize the moon moving in front of the Sun, because it looks for all the world like simply a big bite that's getting bigger as some unseen monster's hunger remains unsatisfied even after incessant munching. And there is absolutely nothing at all to see if you don't have the proper filters to look through. Even if you could look straight at the Sun, it's far too bright for you to be able to see any of the bite. So please don't try. If you have noviewing glasses    (you didn't prepare very well, did you?), you will have no choice but to steal a glimpse at the Sun through someone else's properly filtered equipment, or aprojection device, or a TV monitor that might be set up nearby doing a webcast or video recording. Or you can try the old trick of making tiny little suns on the ground with your hands' shadows, or looking at the little crescent suns beneath trees. The best, though, is to put on your solar viewing glasses, and look directly at the event. It really is pretty cool,” according to the website.

According to space.com, the temperature during this event could quickly drop 20 to 30 degrees.

Once the darkness begins to lift, the eye protection goes back on. If anyone were to look at the sun during this time, eye damage could occur.