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The Hill Country is getting ready for April's total eclipse

A small white crescent on black
Deborah Cannon
A partial eclipse is seen through eclipse glasses on Saturday.

If you enjoyed the partial solar eclipse visible in Central Texas this past weekend, just you wait for the total solar eclipse happening in April.

“It’s going to be way bigger, you know, huge,” said Katherine Sturdivant, parks education coordinator with the Hays County Parks Department. She said the last total solar eclipse visible in Central Texas took place more than 600 years ago.

“So this is going to be really something, and I think that we’re going to see a lot more people out in the parks,” Sturdivant said.

Small towns across Texas are expecting an increase in visitors as tourists drive in to watch the eclipse from parks and natural areas. Sturdivant said lots of people will be looking for unobstructed views and a unique experience.

“I think there's something a little bit more special about being surrounded by other excited, beginning astronomers out here in the park," she said, "surrounded by nature rather than watching it in like your apartment parking lot."

On Saturday, Sturdivant said, the wildlife went quiet during the partial eclipse.

“Almost everybody noticed that we weren’t really hearing any birds, we weren’t really hearing any bugs,” she said. It lasted for about an hour or two. “I don’t know if you would have gotten that kind of experience if you were just at home in your driveway.”

The total solar eclipse will be visible in Central Texas at around 1:30 p.m. April 8. Sturdivant said the county’s parks department will look into mitigating traffic going into parks during peak travel times so those who want to watch from the Hill Country can make it in time.

Lisa Sullivan, communications director for the City of Dripping Springs and a member of the city’s eclipse task force, said the city recently put in an order for 25,000 pairs of solar eclipse glasses to pass out at the city’s watch party.

“We just want to make sure that our residents and visitors are safe. It’s the number one thing that we care about,” she said. “This is huge and people from all over the country are coming.”

Sullivan said Dripping Springs’ emergency management coordinator has been talking to other cities about how to plan ahead for crowds. But she said passing out glasses is the first thing they can do to keep people safe, especially children, when they’re looking up at the sky.

Sullivan said the city ordered 5,000 pairs of glasses for its watch party last weekend and passed out almost all of them.

“We had people jumping out of their cars coming to get photos and glasses,” she said. “H-E-B kept sending people to us, Home Depot kept sending them to us because everyone was running out.”

Sullivan said hosting the eclipse party last weekend was one of the best experiences she’s had while working for the city, and she’s excited to do it all over again.

Maya Fawaz is KUT's Hays County reporter. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @mayagfawaz.
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