Just In Case: Washington County Declares Preemptive Eclipse Emergency

Jun 23, 2017

Weiser's railway depot sits in the heart of the small town expected to be one of the most popular eclipse viewing locations in all of Idaho. The community is ideally located in the path of totality for the August 21 eclipse.
Credit Nicholas D. / Flickr

Washington County Commissioners passed an emergency declaration ahead of what many think will be a massive influx of visitors for August's solar eclipse.

The town of Weiser has a little over 5,000 residents. The tiny community on the Oregon border could swell up to six times that size during the third weekend in August which will culminate in a total eclipse Monday, August 21.  

Steve Penner, a spokesman for Washington County Disaster Services, says the emergency declaration was made out of an abundance of caution. Weiser is bracing for anywhere between 15,000 to 30,000 visitors to descend on it, due to its ideal location in the eclipse's path of totality.

According to KTVB, the resolution would allow for state assistance if conditions become more than local agencies can handle. Officials are concerned huge crowds could cause a host of problems including wide-spread property damage and overburdening roads.  Having enough restrooms for that many people is also a worry, as is a possible loss of communication should networks be overwhelmed by smartphone users.

The emergency declaration will be in effect until the end of August.

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