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Spotty cell service likely at John Stiff park

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AMARILLO - Fourth of July pictures may take a while to upload to your Twitter or Instagram tomorrow night if you plan to celebrate at John Stiff Park.

It happened at the Color Run last month, and it will likely happen tomorrow; overwhelmed cell phone towers.

More than 15,000 people are expected to come, and that's more than area cell towers can handle.

But city officials say as long as you're not addicted to social media, you shouldn't worry about it too much.

"Cell phones aren't really necessary to call 911, because we'll officers right there at the park," Potter Randall County Emergency Manager Kevin Starbuck said.
 
The Amarillo Emergency Management team has had a plan in place for months keeping in mind the likely lack of cell phone use.

"The police department will deploy their big mobile command vehicle, we'll have police officers, representatives from the Amarillo Fire Department both supporting the fireworks display and working EMS medical calls," Starbuck said.

But it's not just cell towers  that will be overwhelmed tomorrow, APD says traffic will be slow and bumper to bumper.

Traffic lights will be operated manually by APD in hopes making traffic flow a little smoother, but with thousands of people flooding the area, you might want to bring some patience.

"What you think would normally be a green light might be red, and what would be a red light might be green, because of the way we are able to manipulate them just to disperse the traffic," said Corporal Jerry Neufeld said.

APD will also have extra patrols across the entire city to crack down on drunk drivers. And though first responders get used to the annual chaos of the holiday, they say it's always a good to remind people to...

"Be patient, follow the directions of first responders and volunteers in the area, and just enjoy yourself," Starbuck said.      

The Emergency Management team also has safety plans in place for the Fourth of July festivities in Canyon, the Amarillo Sox game, Trinity Fellowship church, and the Texas play in Palo Duro Canyon.

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