Kerr County issues disaster declaration ahead of total solar eclipse on April 8

The county said it expects double, triple or more people than its population of 53,000

FILE - (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File) (Timothy D. Easley)

KERR COUNTY, Texas – Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly has issued a disaster declaration ahead of the total solar eclipse on April 8 in anticipation of impacted local resources and an influx of visitors to the area.

The county said it expects double, triple or more people than its population of 53,000 over the eclipse weekend and into Monday, April 8.

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“We expect that kind of visiting traffic here to cause extreme traffic congestion on our roadways, place an enormous strain on our first responders and hospital systems, drain our food and fuel supplies and strain our city and county infrastructure to, quite possibly, over capacity,” Kelly stated in a news release.

Kelly encouraged residents to stay off the roads on the day of the eclipse, gas up vehicles before the event, and ensure they have sufficient groceries, medications and essentials for the weekend.

The declaration will remain in effect until March 11 before it goes to the Kerr County commissioners for an extension vote.

If approved, the declaration would remain in effect until terminated by the county judge after the eclipse.

“This event is expected to be of such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond the capability of the local jurisdiction to manage,” Kelly wrote in a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott on Feb. 23.

Enacting the declaration in advance activates the county’s emergency management plan to take lifesaving precautions and authorizes more aid if needed.

“The declaration is a necessary step required by the Texas Department of Emergency Management so that we can make requests for state assistance and state resources, and have those in place, if approved, in advance of the eclipse,” Kerr County Emergency Management Coordinator William B. “Dub” Thomas stated in a news release.


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About the Author

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.

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