The director of Leavenworth County Emergency Management says his office will be using social media to focus on safety as a total solar eclipse approaches.

The director of Leavenworth County Emergency Management says his office will be using social media to focus on safety as a total solar eclipse approaches.

The solar eclipse will take place Aug. 21, and the Leavenworth area will be in what is known as the path of totality of the eclipse.

Emergency Management Director Chuck Magaha discussed the eclipse Thursday when providing a quarterly report to the Leavenworth County Commission.

It is anticipated there will be a large influx of people in the area for the eclipse. Magaha said local hotels and campgrounds are booked.

“We just want people protecting themselves,” he said after the meeting.

Magaha said he wants to caution people about using proper eye protection when viewing the eclipse.

With the anticipated influx of people, local residents may want to fill up the gas tanks of their cars the day before the eclipse rather than trying to do it the day of the event. Magaha said cell phone service in the area also may be disrupted because of an overabundance of usage the day of the eclipse.

Kim Buchanan, assistant director of Leavenworth County Emergency Management, said people also need to be mindful of road safety.

Magaha said people should not park on busy roadways to watch the eclipse.

Also Thursday, commissioners voted to authorize Magaha to proceed with an application process for a Federal Emergency Management Agency buyout program for flood-prone properties.

Magaha said he will be applying for federal grant funding to purchase five residences in Leavenworth County. Owners of these properties expressed interest in participating in the program in 2010, but funding was not available at that time.

“Funding has never been available,” he said.

But an initial letter of intent has been accepted this year, and Magaha asked for permission to proceed with the application.

Commissioners unanimously approved the request.

Three of the five properties are located along Stranger Creek. One is located along Salt Creek, and the remaining property is located along the Missouri River, Magaha said.

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