Solar eclipse enthusiasts started to head home shortly after the eclipse reached totality.
The Emergency Management Division and the S.C. Department of Transportation are both reporting traffic build up in major highways leading out of Columbia and Greenville. The S.C. Highway Patrol is asking drivers be patient on their way home.
“We want this event to be safe for everybody,” Beres said. “If you are leaving after the event, make sure you pack up your family, pack up your patience, and ... buckle up.”
Traffic in the Midlands:
By 3 p.m., northbound traffic on Interstate 77 north of exit 16 near Interstate 20 was flowing at less than 25 mph, according to the S.C. Department of Transportation. Traffic had also slowed to a crawl near exit 10, Fort Jackson Boulevard, because of an accident.
Outbound traffic had also snarled near Bull Street and Elmwood Avenue.
One accident had been reported on I-77 near Forest Drive.
Derrec Becker, a spokesman for the EMD, said the traffic clog was expected.
“It's people trying to beat the rush, thinking they can get out earlier'” than others, Becker said, but he noted that so far, “Traffic appears to be flowing fairly smoothly.”
Statewide, the Emergency Management Division was tracking 309 eclipse-related events. There were 120 in the Midlands, Becker said.
Traffic in the Lowcountry:
Interstate 26 near milemarker 208 out of Charleston had traffic flowing at no more than 25 mph, according to the S.C. Department of Transportation. Rain is likely aggravating traffic conditions.
Meanwhile, southbound traffic in Interstate 95 is crawling where it intersects with I-26. Southbound I-26 at I-95 is also jammed.
Traffic in the Upstate:
Motorists were experiencing heavy traffic on Interstate 85 in the Upstate, according to the S.C. Emergency Management Division.
Traffic on Interstate 85, the major corridor between Charlotte and Atlanta, had been heavy throughout the weekend, Becker said.
Interstate 77 headed southbound from Rock Hill is also experiencing heavier than normal congestion.
Traffic at the airport:
Columbia Metropolitan Airport is seeing a large influx of private planes as people from up and down the East Coast are flying in to watch the solar eclipse.
Both Eagle Aviation and Columbia Aviation are hosting fly-ins.
Eagle Aviation is expecting more than 100 private and Columbia Aviation is expecting another 30 to 40, according to Anthony Gilmer, the airport’s marketing director.
About half of the planes had already arrived by noon.
The planes have come from as far away as Connecticut and Nassau, Gilmer said.