Total Eclipse of the Heart of Indiana United Way

On April 8th, every county served by Heart of Indiana United Waywill experience a total solar eclipse.

As our Director of Community Resources Kim Rogers Hatfield says, “It’s a total eclipse of the Heart (of Indiana United Way)!” 

But preparing the Zone of Totality, (the band of communities that will experience the total solar eclipse), involves more than ensuring you have protective eyewear. As Heart of Indiana’s counties are anticipating thousands of visitors arriving to take in this rare celestial event, residents are cautioned to prepare as you would for a winter storm.  

According to Kim, here are 5 easy steps you can take to be ready: 

  • Fill your gas tank before the days leading up to the eclipse, especially in areas near major highways. 
  • Be prepared for cell service overloads, there may be service disruptions due to the increase in visitors using the networks. 
  • Be prepared for internet disruptions as well.  Online work, meetings, etc. may be affected by the increased usage. 
  • Place supply orders so they arrive in advance of the eclipse.  Increased traffic will affect the delivery schedules. 
  • Shop early for groceries.  Stores will be impacted by the increase in sales, delivery schedules, and internet disruptions as well. 

 Madison County’s Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD), currently led by Heart of Indiana United Way, facilitates managing shelters, food, supplies distribution, volunteers in the event of a disaster. To help the community prepare for a dramatic increase in traffic and visitors, the COAD is involved in emergency management planning sessions for the total solar eclipse. These leaders are making sure all plans are ready, including shelter and supplies, to accommodate the increased population. 

For Madison County, here’s the solar eclipse timeline: 

  • Partial Begins at 1:51:43 PM 
  • Full Begins at 3:07:07 PM 
  • Partial Ends at 4:23:57 
  • Totality 3 minutes, 42 seconds 

 A total solar eclipse is truly an amazing experience. In 2017, my family and I traveled several hours to Hopkinsville, Kentucky to see one—my children’s and my first ever total solar eclipse. Having no idea what to expect, I was amazed at how magical it all was. The air stilled, the birds got quiet, and it became cooler as all around us it became twilight. Above, it was completely dark—with stars shining and a fiery ring of sunlight surrounding the moon. The crowd stilled in awe. Close by, a young man proposed to his girlfriend.  

 The drive home was another matter of bumper-to-bumper interstate traffic… but I would not have traded it for the opportunity to share that incredible moment with my family. So, grab your protective eyewear—and be prepared to be amazed!  

 But also keep in mind, this is going to happen in April in Indiana—which on average tends to be overcast at best. The National Weather Service can only predict three days out. Nevertheless, Heart of Indiana United Way and Madison County’s COAD plans and prepares for a record number of visitors. We hope you will plan ahead, too!