ELYRIA, OHIO (WJW) – On April 8, day will turn to night for a once-in-a-lifetime eclipse. Although there is still more than a month to go, Lorain County Emergency Management is issuing a warning: stock up on three days of food, fuel and water.

“What we might have here are crowds that we’re not used to,” said Dave Freeman, Lorain County EMA director. “We are not prepared in terms of infrastructure for that, we don’t have the roads.”

Freeman said the county is a special eclipse destination. He said so far more than 500,000 people are expected to visit Ohio to see the eclipse. In Lorain County, the population could increase to three times its usual size.

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“Along the path of totality, that’s where you’ll have the longest eclipse, where you’ll see everything from start to finish,” Freeman said. “We’re looking at about four minutes or so for totality.”

Lorain County EMA is preparing for potential challenges and advises people to be prepared for potential traffic issues.

“A lot of the roads here are two lanes,” Freeman said. “This is not Chicago, this is not Cleveland, where we have a lot of four- and six-lane highways, so traffic could be pretty extreme here if we have more crowds than we expect.

“That’s where the three days of food and water come from, it’s not that there will be a shortage of food or water, but what there may be is difficulty getting somewhere.”

In downtown Amherst, there is more excitement than concern about the temporary population boom.

“I’m excited to see the streets filled and what this can do for the businesses here,” Josh Campbell said.

Diane Citro, owner of Park Lanes, said the eclipse traffic will help more people know her business is worthy of support.

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“We’re here and we really welcome people and we just want to welcome them to our establishment,” Citro said. “The fact that we have this in our lifetime is just an incredible experience, so let’s go ahead.”

It’s still too early to know exactly how many people will visit Lorain County in particular. Freeman said this warning about food, fuel and water is not meant to alarm, but rather wants people to be prepared for the unexpected.

“This is not the end of the world,” Freeman said. “Get ready, just get ready for it.”

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By Sam