Images of the solar eclipse courtesy AIC.

Preppers flummoxed as Durham gets a peep at solar eclipse

Apocalyptic predictions centered around destructive solar flares came to a naught yesterday as Durham got a glimpse of the rare solar eclipse despite heavy cloud cover.

This happens when the moon moved between the sun and the Earth. The last once-in-a-lifetime occurrence in southern Ontario was in 1925, and the next one will occur in 2099, according to Durham Region. Canada’s next total solar eclipse will take place 20 years from now, but only over northeastern British Columbia and Alberta.

In Durham , the ‘near total’ eclipse was between 2:04 and 4:31 p.m. A small part east of Clarington experienced a full eclipse. The peak was expected at 3:19 pm.

Though the skies darkened like almost at nighttime, and some sensor lights came on automatically, at the peak of the total eclipse, the cloud cover broke just enough for the ‘ring of fire’ or a portion of it to be seen (see images). Later, the eclipse could be seen even more clearly though breaks in the clouds.

Though the rare celestial event for southern Ontarians happend after almost a 100-year wait with the next one scheduled 75 years from now, life in Durham appeared normal.

Durham Regiona Police Service (DRPS) and other emergency services were prepared for the event.

DRPS Central East Division Roadway Safety Team said it was seeing the roads, especially the Highway 401, getting busier.

“If you don’t have to travel during the full effects of the eclipse, stop for a coffee and take your time,” it advised.

Roads appeared normal, though near the peak, some motorists did pull over, especially on high grounds near highways to try and catch a glimpse of the celestial event.

OPP Highway Safety Division said no significant delays were reported on provincial highways throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), including the Niagara Falls area – a hotspot for eclipse watchers.

Lakeshore East Train adjusted some train schedules to help residents get to and from Niagara Falls for the solar eclipse celebrations and downtown for sporting events.

The Region of Durham took the opportunity to remind residents of the region’s 50th birthday.

“As we witness the solar eclipse 2024 during our 50th anniversary year, share your brightest memories living in the region,” it urged.

Durham Health warned that kids should always be supervised during solar viewing activities. If unable to safely view with eye protection on, consider watching a livestream on the NASA website.

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