PRINEVILLE, OREGON, UNITED STATES (AUGUST 18, 2017) (NBC) – People across the United States are making final preparations ahead of next week’s total solar eclipse.
The rare spectacle of the moon passing directly in front the sun, combined with the appeal of the great outdoors, is expected to draw tens of thousands of eclipse enthusiasts to rugged and remote national forests and rangelands across the country.
The Aug. 21 event marks the first total solar eclipse visible anywhere in the lower 48 states since 1979. And it will be the first in 99 years spanning the entire continental United States, offering a brief glimpse of the sun completely blotted out – except for the corona of its outer atmosphere – across a 70-mile- (113-km-) wide, coast-to-coast path through 14 states.
Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming are the first three states traversed by the narrow 2,500-mile (4,000-km) “path of totality,” mostly through rural areas unaccustomed to heavy traffic.
Parts of Oregon are already experiencing heavy traffic and motorists are even facing long lines at gas stations days before the eclipse.
Many cities have also seen long lines of people waiting to pick up protective eye glasses.