CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Public safety officials say expect heavy traffic and poor cellphone service while the total solar eclipse is in town.
More than 1 million people are estimated to be in the Lowcountry for the event August 21.
The full eclipse is expected to last two minutes when it begins at 2:46 p.m., but the partial eclipse will start at 1:17 p.m. and last until 4:10 p.m.
“Safety is paramount,” said Major Eric Watson of Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, “we’re not trying to take away from the excitement of the event, we will enjoy it too, but our main concern is safety for those who are visiting here and those of Charleston County.”
CCSO says it will be operating on the same emergency response plan as it does for after a hurricane and will have extra patrols throughout the area.
Officials are asking people not to call 911 to report a cell phone outage as the massive influx of folks is expected to inundate cell grids.
Emergency operations leaders say texting 911 may be more effective and to have patience if their emergency call is not answered immediately.
The Ravenel Bridge’s pedestrian walkway will be closed to all traffic from noon to 4 p.m. on eclipse day since authorities say responding to a possible emergency through crowds standing on the bridge would be too difficult.