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A Llano County town hall on the impact of the upcoming total solar eclipse is 5:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the LanTex Theater, 113 W. Main St. in Llano. 

The county’s population is expected to increase by at least 50 percent in the days surrounding the April 8 eclipse, and emergency management officials want residents and businesses to be prepared for any problems that arise from the massive influx of visitors.

“The eclipse represents both increased opportunity and challenges,” reads an excerpt from Llano County’s Eclipse Information Guide. “As thousands of additional individuals and families arrive for a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event, we encourage residents and visitors alike to be ready, patient, safe, and, most of all, to enjoy this unique experience here in Llano County.”

The total eclipse will pass directly over the Highland Lakes, and local governments, agencies, and businesses have been preparing for months with the expectation that thousands of people will come to the region to watch.

The Feb. 20 town hall is an informational seminar on the “opportunities and challenges” mentioned in the county’s information guide. Llano County Emergency Management Coordinator Gilbert Bennett, Hill Country Alliance Night Sky Director Dawn Davies, and Llano Police Department representatives will attend and offer critical input on how to prepare.

“We’re starting with the individual,” Bennett told “This (town hall) is so that you can be an informed citizen. All we can do is provide the information.”

Llano Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center representative Kim Webb told that many Llano County residents still aren’t aware the eclipse is coming.

“We still have people that don’t know about it,” she said. “Especially people in our older community that don’t have computers.”

Llano County’s population is roughly 22,000 people, which could swell beyond 35,000 during the eclipse, according to the information guide. This is a conservative estimate based on eclipse tourism in other rural areas, such as Madras, Oregon. That town’s population of roughly 7,500 rose to over 100,000 during the 2017 total solar eclipse.

“I understand these numbers are a bit shocking, but this is the reality of it,” said Davies during a similar town hall meeting held in Burnet in February.

This massive, temporary population boost is expected to drastically impact local traffic conditions, food and fuel supplies, medical and emergency services, and even cellphone and internet connections.

“We need to assume a level of preparedness,” Bennett said.