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US Officials Prepare For Total Solar Eclipse

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The nation is now less than two weeks away from witnessing history, as tens of millions of people in the United States are expected to be watching some form of the solar eclipse later this month.

But where you live will play a major role in determining just how much of it you’ll see.

For now, officials in communities throughout the US are preparing for potential problems that could pop up.

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South Carolina officials are urging residents and visitors to get their plan in place for viewing the total solar eclipse on August 21.

“Our overriding concern is safety,” Charleston County EMS Director David Abrams said. “Make sure you bring hydration and medications. Make sure you have appropriate eye wear when looking at the sun.”

South Carolina is on the coast-to-coast swath where people will be able to watch as the moon completely blocks the sun. Authorities are expecting thousands to flood to parks and other open spaces to get a glimpse of the spectacle, using protective eye wear. Traffic will be heavy and cell phone service will be stretched to its limits.

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“This is the first total solar eclipse in the U.S. in the cellular era, so some of the impacts may not be known ahead of time,” Charleston County Director of Telecommunications Bill Tunic said.

You don’t have to live near the line of totality to witness this astronomical wonder. Americans who live outside the path of complete darkness will still be able to experience quite a phenomenon.

“You should definitely watch it,” said Dr. Jackie Faherty, an astronomer  of the American Museum of Natural History. “Just because you’re not in the path of totality doesn’t mean the experience won’t be kind of mind boggling as it’s happening.”

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This will be the first coast to coast eclipse in 99 years.

“I mean I live in Manhattan, so I’ll have to probably do something to find the right space to see it, but I’m totally going to try to see it,” Nitika Chopra, a resident of New York said.

This will be a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle shared across the entire United States.

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