Q&A on the news: Aug. 21

Q: On what basis did state officials predict 53,000 people will be driving north from Atlanta to witness the solar eclipse?

—Mirza Ismail, Fayetteville

A: The Georgia Department of Transportation reported that approximately 53,000 people will be traveling to the state’s northeast corner to witness the eclipse, based on information presented during a meeting with government employees in Rabun County. Rabun, which is the state’s northeasternmost county, falls within the eclipse’s projected path of totality.

In the meeting, Rabun County officials shared data retrieved from GreatAmericanEclipse.com, Katie Strickland, the Georgia DOT’s District 1 spokesperson, told Q&A on the News.

The website predicted visitation numbers for the event based on how far a person would be willing to drive within their state to observe the eclipse’s path of totality. For example, a person living 200 miles away from the path of totality was given between a 0.5 and 2 percent chance of traveling that distance to witness the eclipse.

The site’s calculations also accounted for other factors, such as weather, social media buzz and large public events taking place on the day of the eclipse.

Fast Copy News Service wrote this column; Dillon Thompson contributed. Do you have a question? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city)

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