Delaware experiences total solar eclipse


Delaware County enjoyed a few minutes of totality Monday during the solar eclipse, and authorities say the day went well.

Schools around the county were closed, and authorities reported Tuesday that aside from traffic, there were no major issues due to the eclipse.

“It was overall really good,” said Alex McCarthy, the director of the Delaware County Emergency Management.

McCarthy said there was an increase in traffic around the county but likened it to regular holiday traffic.

Tracy Whited, the director of public relations for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday that the office positioned deputies at several high volume traffic locations around the county, including U.S. Route 36/state Route 37, Interstate 71, state routes 315 and 750 as well as state Route 521 between Old State and Leonardsburg.

“From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., we saw some heavy congestion, but traffic was still moving, albeit slowly,” Whited said. “(There were) no major issues.”

Whited explained that the office was able to deploy nearly three times the amount of deputies as usual Monday since there was no school, which freed up the office’s school resource officers.

City of Delaware Police Chief Adam Moore said the police department did have additional staffing but had “no major incidents” to report.

“There was steady traffic flow, northbound, on U.S. 23 during the late morning/early afternoon,” Moore said. “Then, after the eclipse, we had significant west to east traffic on Central Avenue and William Street from downtown through the Point. No significant issues, in my opinion. It ended up being like an early/extended rush hour.”

Moore said there were “quite a few” people at downtown businesses during the day, and he saw several people taking pictures with the statue of Rutherford B. Hayes, which made him wonder how many were out-of-town visitors.

“Overall, a great day, beautiful weather, and the eclipse was super cool,” Moore said. “From a public safety standpoint, it was exactly what we like to see, plenty of preparation – successful execution – safe public enjoying a wonderful event.”

McCarthy said the EMA had been planning for the eclipse for the better part of two years and put together a planning team to educate fire and police chiefs on what other counties had experienced during similar solar eclipses.

“(We) let each fire and police chief know what other places had experienced so they could make decisions for their departments,” McCarthy said. “… In the end, we feel the planning process was very successful to get through yesterday with no issues.”

McCarthy said he enjoyed seeing the eclipse.

“I really enjoy astronomy,” McCarthy said. “Eclipses are quite rare. It was a really good day. We’re excited it went as well as it did.”

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.

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