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Central Texas has some of the best seats in the country for the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse April 8.

Travis County declares local disaster ahead of April 8 total solar eclipse

A person in a hat holds glasses to his face as he looks to the sky
Renee Dominguez
KUT News
Travis County commissioners voted on the disaster declaration Friday.

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Travis County declared a local disaster on Friday ahead of the April 8 total solar eclipse.

The eclipse is expected to bring an influx of people to the area, putting a major strain on roads, emergency services and other needs.

The declaration allows Travis County Judge Andy Brown to control and coordinate traffic and other needs during the eclipse. It also requires business and property owners planning to host events with more than 50 attendees to register with the county to ensure proper life safety and critical infrastructure is in place.

"The emergency services personnel asked me to enter this declaration so that we have the ability to regulate traffic to allow for the passage of emergency vehicles during the eclipse," Brown told KUT. "We also want to make sure we have a good sense of all events in that area and how that will impact traffic."

Eric Carter, the chief emergency management coordinator for Travis County, said the registrations help the county know where large viewing events are so EMS and other public safety officials can plan appropriately.

"This will allow Travis County to access the tools we need to be better prepared as best we can for the unexpected surge of folks that will come to our area," he said.

Carter said the county is also working with the Texas Department of Transportation and other entities to keep roads clear and safe. No road closures are expected to occur that day, he said.

Brown encouraged residents who have the ability to stay home and watch the eclipse, and reschedule any non-urgent appointments that day. Additionally, residents should make sure they put gas in cars and do errands before April 8.

Travis County and the Texas Hill Country are in the path of totality, which will result in several minutes of total darkness, depending on the location.

The county is particularly concerned about parks in the western portion of the county, like Hamilton Pool Preserve, and the strain the event could put on the road in and out of the area.

Travis County will soon announce additional operational changes — like day use passes — for parks in the western area of the county.

Overnight camping reservations are already full at Pace Bend and Arkansas Bend parks. Hamilton Pool already requires reservations and is full.

Bell County, which encompasses Killeen and Belton just north of Austin, declared a local disaster last month in preparation for the eclipse. Several local school districts, including Del Valle and Hays, have also decided to close for the day.

Brown signed the declaration Friday morning.

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Austin City Hall reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @LuzMorenoLozano.
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