North Carolina preparing for massive ‘solar show’

This Sept. 13, 2015 image provided by NASA shows the moon, left, and the Earth, top, transiting the sun together, seen from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The edge of Earth appears fuzzy because the atmosphere blocks different amounts of light at different altitudes. This image was taken in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, invisible to human eyes, but here colorized in gold. A total lunar eclipse will share the stage with a so-called supermoon Sunday evening, Sept. 27, 2015 as seen from the United States. That combination hasn't been seen since 1982 and won't happen again until 2033. (NASA/SDO via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) —  The 2017 Solar Eclipse promises to be a rare event, drawing the interests of astronomers and citizens alike.

Many people will be flocking to areas in North Carolina, including the southwestern portion of the state. That part of North Carolina will be in the eclipse’s path of totality — or 100 percent coverage.

Special Coverage: Solar Eclipse 2017 | Eclipse Coverage Map

North Carolina Department of Transportation officials say they have been preparing for the likelihood of hundreds of thousands of people descending upon the state for the eclipse.

Officials say Jackson County alone is getting ready for between 18,000 and 20,000 visitors. Residents and travelers are being asked to stay safe.

NCDOT released a list of safety tips ahead of next Monday’s event:

  • Plan Ahead: Arrive early due to expected high traffic volumes. Obey all posted signs and message boards.
  • Stay Put: Do not park on the shoulder of the road to view the eclipse. Get off the road and park in a safe location — such as a rest area.
  • Do not wear eclipse glasses while driving.
  • Leave Late: Traffic will likely be heavy following the eclipse, so stick around — wherever you are — and let others leave first.

More information about viewing the eclipse in North Carolina can be found at this link.

Stay with WAVY.com for continuing coverage of the 2017 Solar Eclipse.