A sheriff from a county that resides in the path of the total eclipse released a Facebook message warning everyone that the celestial event is likely “the end of life on this planet as we know it.” Sheriff Scott Berry even recommended everyone “begin panicking today” and told residents to hit grocery stores before shelves were emptied of all name-brand cereal.
The satirical Facebook post was added by the Oconee County Georgia Sheriff’s Office on August 3 and has garnered a significant amount of attention since its release.
Berry advises residents to not wait until “Sunday night to buy bread and milk” to prepare for the event where “celestial forces no one understands will blot out the sun.” Otherwise, if you allow the “vast hordes to descend on grocery stores,” he said, “the only thing left will be potted mean and knock off brand cereal with such names as ‘RaisinO’s’ and ‘CheeriBran.’”
The sheriff also warns about looking straight at the sun during the eclipse, reminding everyone that “millions of Americans are blinded every week by staring directly into the sun.” He also asserts, “Your sunglasses will not protect you from certain death if you look at the sun. However, for a mere $29.99 (plus $9.00 shipping and handling) you can order ‘stare directly at the sun wearing these’ glasses from NASA and the Home Shopping Network.”
Since the eclipse will occur around the end of the school day in that part of the country, Berry recommends providing children with “an afternoon snack of potted meat” to “encourage them to ignore the end of the world as we know it.” He also humorously stated that “leading scientists tell us that post eclipse the only two things they expect to survive are cockroaches and Facebook,” before asking the tongue-in-cheek question, “It that one or two things?”
While Berry’s post is meant in jest, the event is posing some serious problems for cities in the total eclipse path. As reported by NBC News, Angela Speck, a researcher at the University of Missouri, stated, “There are so many ways in which eclipse day is going to resemble a zombie apocalypse.”
With approximately two-thirds of all Americans living within a one day’s drive of the total eclipse path, the weekend could see travel congestion as people flock to prime viewing locations. Speck said, “There will hopefully be less bloodshed, but zombies don’t need regular food or sleep, or toilets.”
Many cities in the total solar eclipse path have already seen hotel room shortages as visitors look to find a place to stay. Additionally, road conditions could be hazardous as people move between locations trying to find the best place to view the event.
While 12 million people live within the total eclipse path, it is estimated that an additional 1.85 million to 7.4 million may travel into these areas for the event. In some cases, a city’s population may double as a result.
To prepare for the influx of people, Speck recommends stocking up on food and filling vehicles with gas in case local supplies end up being insufficient.