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Central Texas leaders work with state and federal agencies preparing for eclipse

Posted at 7:04 PM, Feb 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-15 20:04:38-05

WACO, Texas — Less than two months out, first responders are looking ahead to April 8th’s Solar Eclipse.

Multiply agencies are involved in planning to keep Central Texas safe and ready, including local and state emergency management agencies along with the FBI, according to the McLennan County Sheriff.

Sheriff Parnell McNamara said, “we’re just making sure that we’re coordinating with all of our local police departments and also our federal agencies, how we’re gonna close roads if we have to or address traffic situations.”

Assistant Chief Alex Gearhart with the Killeen Police Department says they are still working to finalize plans.

Chief Gearhart told me, “we have been told by the people with past experiences on these to expect anywhere to double or triple our population on the day of the event.”

Local leaders know this could have an impact on emergency services, so they are bringing in more staff and resources to help.

Jennifer Henager, the Fire & Emergency Management Program Manager for the City of Temple, explained they are “making sure that we have additional resources like helicopters available.”

She said they are also talking with stores like Walmart, HEB and local convenient stores to make sure enough food and fuel will be available.

Her message to Central Texans is “be patient. It’s gonna be a little bit crazy but it’s short lived.”