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Aug 21

Eclipse Day is here!

Good morning! The long-awaited day of the total solar eclipse in Nebraska has arrived and the excitement is building leading up to totality at about 1 pm central time.

Arnold, Nebraska is close to dead center of the 70 mile-wide path of totality. Since Friday visitors from across the nation and overseas have steadily filtered in to the Custer County, Nebraska town of just under 600.

One of the busiest locations is the Arnold Exchange, local convenience store/café. Higher than average crowds have stopped in for a meal and camping necessities such as ice and water. As I was leaving a gentleman asked if I was visiting Arnold for the solar eclipse. His voice had a distinct and familiar accent and I asked him where he was from. He replied, to my delight, “New York”, my home state. In fact he was from Huntington, about 10 miles from my hometown and just a few miles from where my sister lives. You never know who’ll you’ll meet in Arnold, Nebraska.

The Arnold Recreation Area, south of town, has seen a steady influx of eclipse observers arriving in vehicles ranging from small passenger cars to large motor-homes and RV’s, many towing smaller vehicles. The come from places like Arizona, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, Washington State and a large number from Colorado.

During a trip out in the country I saw a family group camped out in a pasture on the prairie near Gandy, Nebraska.

One thing to note, there’s plenty of wide-open spaces and sky to view the eclipse.

There are some profiteers taking advantage of the influx of out of towners, especially in larger cities close to I-80. One North Platte hotel room listed at just over $1,000 a night. In other locations anywhere between $300-600 a night. Two businesses in Kearney reported fuel shortages, yet here in Arnold there’s plenty to go around.

Arnold Public School has planned an eclipse viewing event for students and staff at the nearby football field.

Most Arnold businesses are open today, yet most will pause at the time of totality.

Bonnie and I plan to observe this magnificent event at few miles north of Arnold on Harvey and Barbara Foran’s ranch which includes the highest point in Custer County, Nebraska. The view of the valley below is spectacular and will offer a view of the moon’s shadow as it approaches and eventually covers the sun for about two and a half minutes.

We’ll have more stories and interviews on our podcasts at 1490korn.com

J.P. Skelly