Missouri State Emergency Management Agency officials are in the planning stages of safety measures for a total solar eclipse that will occur on August 21. The eclipse, which is when the moon blocks the sun, will cause the sky to turn pitch black for about two minutes that afternoon.

Total solar eclipse photo courtesy of NASA

Thousands of people from around the world are headed to Missouri to view the event because the Show-Me State will be one of the best places in America to see what’s being dubbed as “The Great American Eclipse.” The best place to view the event is said to be a line from St. Joseph to Ashland and down through St. Genevieve to Cape Girardeau.

According to Mike O’Connell with the Missouri Public Safety Department, officials are planning a coordinated effort with local communities to determine what the needs are to respond to an influx of people attending special eclipse events, hot and potential severe weather and traffic issues from onlookers and a sudden change in the sky.

This the first total solar eclipse on the continental U.S. since 1969 and the first one to cross the continent from ocean to ocean since 1918.

Special glasses are required to view the eclipse.