AVON LAKE, Ohio — More than a year before an anticipated full solar eclipse, a committee in Avon Lake has already been working to plan for the event.

“The city of Avon Lake actually has a planning committee that has been looking at the eclipse and looking at past eclipses and what type of influx of visitors communities have had to deal with. And since Avon Lake is on the path of totality for the eclipse, we wanted to start planning now,” said Assistant Avon Lake School District Superintendent Dr. Jack Dibee.

Although the April 8 eclipse is expected to be viewed through much of the state, from Toledo to northern Stark County, Lorain County Emergency Management Director Jessica Fetter said only nine of the state’s 88 counties will be in the center of the path of totality.

That is expected to bring an influx of visitors to the areas that will be able to see the full eclipse the longest, which could be more than four minutes from start to finish.

“We are anticipating our population to triple, with visitors coming from all over the world to spend that time here,” said Fetter.

“Things will probably come to a standstill as far as viewing, but with it being such a short amount of time that shouldn’t be too problematic. The problem would be, then, everyone getting in their cars and trying to leave at the same time and everything being at a standstill at that point,” she added.

Compounding the concern is that the eclipse is expected to pass through the area at about 3 in the afternoon — about the same time many schools are getting out.

“Past cities that have had that have talked about traffic backups that last hours when it is over with,” said Dibee.

“We are talking about students on school buses for potentially hours more than they need to be, as well as people going to pick up their kids and people being stuck in traffic as well as helping to create the traffic jam because they cant get out of it,” said Fetter.

The planning includes preparations for other concerns.

“We are really concerned about which roads are going to be congested, because it’s not your average, everyday traffic jam. How are our emergency vehicles going to get through? How are we going to manage potential fender-benders, potential breakdowns of cars, medical emergencies with those waiting in traffic? There’s a lot to consider,” Fetter said.

To ease the congestion, Fetter is already asking school districts to consider closing for the day.

Avon Lake has already agreed to close.

“For us, it worked out pretty well, because that actually was supposed to be our first day back from spring break, so we just extended spring break for an extra day,” said Dibee.

Although schools in Avon Lake will be closed, the school plans to have lessons before spring break about the eclipse, and families and students will be encouraged to attend community events which will be centered around the high school property.

Dibee has also already has 5,000 special glasses to distribute to students and school employees when they leave for spring break, so that they can view the eclipse from wherever they are.

“We wanted to order them now, knowing that come eclipse time next year, they will be in short [supply], they will be a lot more expensive and might not be as easy to get,” he said.

Fetter said she is in no way discouraging people from coming to Lorain County for the event.

To the contrary, she expects that all of the planning well over a year in advance will help create an atmosphere where the eclipse will be a very memorable and enjoyable once-in-a-lifetime event for most who will be near the center of totality.

“They are talking, I think, 2099 will be the next one,” Fetter said. “So, not only is this a once-in-a-lifetime event, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of the emergency managers and all of the counties that are participating to plan for something that we have never planned for before — because it hasn’t happened in our lifetime.”