Wayne County calling state of emergency for eclipse day

Wayne County State of Emergency

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

WAYNE COUNTY, N.Y. – Wayne County is so concerned about the number of people that might go there for eclipse day, it decided to issue a state of emergency on eclipse day.

If one estimate is correct, the county population will increase by 50% in one day.

Wayne County is one of five counties in New York where the entire county is in the path of totality. That’s why they anticipate so many people coming and that’s why they’ve decided to issue the state of emergency.

Brean: “You hear the word eclipse and you feel what?”

Anthony Verno, Williamson Supervisor: “Uh, anxious.”

Anthony Verno is the chair of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors.

“We know the eclipse is coming but we don’t know the volume of people coming to Wayne County. So we’re planning for the worst and hoping for the best,” he said.
Here’s the problem: One estimate says 50,000 people will come to Wayne County to watch the eclipse. The county’s population is only 90,000. Imagine a Buffalo Bills game along Route 104. Think of 50,000 people leaving at the same time. 

“It’s going to create a lot of traffic issues,” Verno said.
The county talked to experts like News10NBC did. When a total eclipse hit Greenville, South Carolina in 2017, police said traffic came to a stop.

Brean: “Do you literally mean people were driving down the highways or streets and they just stopped and got out of their cars?”

Maj. Chi Blair, Greenville City PD, Greenville SC: “Literally.”

Greenville police say it took 15 minutes for traffic to get back to normal but Greenville is surrounded by major highways. Wayne County has less than 10 major east-west and north-south roads. The state of emergency will let police close roads or turn two lane roads into one-ways.

Brean: “You still want people to come here.”

Anthony Verno: “Absolutely.”

Brean: “You don’t want people to stay away.”

Verno: “No.”

Brean: “But you want to be prepared for it.

Verno: “Our mission is to protect the public health and safety of our residents and any tourists that come in. So we want to make sure we have every plan we can think of and thought out.”

The plan says the state of emergency kicks in at noon on Monday, April 8 and the circumstances determine when it gets lifted

News10NBC contacted just about every New York county in the path of totality. Only Orleans County and Jefferson County, in the North Country, said a state of emergency is a possibility. Neither have made a decision yet.