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Eclipse updates: Cloud cover hinders view, but Lincoln celebrates its moment without the sun
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Eclipse updates: Cloud cover hinders view, but Lincoln celebrates its moment without the sun


Update 1:05 p.m.

Downtown employees and university students celebrated the arrival of the total solar eclipse with loud cheers heard all across downtown Lincoln.

Cloud cover over Lincoln was significant, but the eclipse was visible to those watching in open spaces and on rooftops of apartment buildings, office complexes and atop parking garages.

In western Nebraska, several thousand people watched through mostly unobstructed skies.

As totality arrived, people broke out in cheers.

Margot Ricketts, who watched the eclipse from Alliance with her dad, the governor, marveled at the moment.

"That was crazy. That was probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen. My friends will be jealous. They're all in class right now."

Update 12:30 p.m.

Cloud cover over downtown Lincoln has increased significantly as the total solar eclipse nears.

What were relatively clear views of the partial eclipse through approved eyewear 30 minutes earlier are now somewhat obstructed.

Update noon

Put on those glasses and take a look at the sun.

The partial eclipse has started in Lincoln, with the moon passing in front of the sun. Although clouds are present, the image of the eclipse is clear through eclipse glasses.

Remember, it's not safe to look directly at the sun without protective eyewear until the eclipse reached totality after 1 p.m.

Update 11:30 a.m.

With heavy traffic from the Omaha area trying to make it down Interstate 80 to land a spot along the path of totality, an accident north of Lincoln has complicated matters.

It's hard to say where all the cars are headed, but it's safe to assume many are trying to make it Lincoln and areas south and west before totality arrives at 1 p.m.

Journal Star Photo Editor Ted Kirk said he encountered eclipse gazers on county roads in Saline County who said they opted to jump off I-80 and find county roads along the path of totality to watch the eclipse.

There's no parking along the interstate or state highways.

Update 11 a.m.

Officials at Homestead National Monument said the park's grounds west of Beatrice are at capacity.

Motorcoach buses have shuttled people from Beatrice to the park throughout the morning. It's unknown what parks officials consider a capacity crowd, but officials are asking visitors to the area to consider other locations in Beatrice to watch the total solar eclipse.

Update 9:30 a.m.

Westbound traffic on Interstate 80 was abnormally heavy west of Omaha on Monday morning as residents of the big city -- and others -- headed for the path of totality.

Cameras along I-80 showed heavy traffic in the westbound lanes from Omaha to Ashland. Southbound lanes of Nebraska 50 were backed up north of U.S. 34.

Update 9 a.m.

BEATRICE -- Lawn chairs began to cover the open fields of the Homestead National Monument shortly after gates to the viewing area opened at 6 a.m.

They came to gaze upward, to catch a view of the total solar eclipse.

Lee Wolfson and nephew Jack Tisdell got to the Beatrice area on Saturday, wielding a huge telescope to stargaze, which if nothing else "would have been worth it."

Now they are hoping for clear skies.

Wolfson saw a total solar eclipse over four decades ago in Cape Cod, and he's been chasing that feeling since. This is Tisdell's first eclipse.

Bill Nye "The Science Guy" is on location at the Homestead, ready to proclaim "GLASSES OFF" as the eclipse reached the brief totality phase just after 1 p.m.

-- Chris Dunker

Update 8:30 a.m.

Some eclipse chasers hoped for the best Monday morning, while others no doubt hopped in their cars to chase blue skies.

Forecasters are concerned that thick clouds could obscure perfect views of the total solar eclipse, especially over areas of Southeast Nebraska.

Eclipse map

With high clouds drifting in from the southwestern U.S. and thicker clouds associated with morning thunderstorms that developed east of Lincoln, it appears the sky cover could be an issue at 1 p.m.

The forecast for Beatrice is 80-90 percent sky cover, with a 40 percent chance of thick clouds obscuring the view.

The percentage chances of thick clouds go down to 25 percent in western Nebraska.

Follow Journal Star reporters and photographers covering the eclipse.

Zach Pluhacek, Carhenge near Alliance -- @zachami

Chris Dunker, Homestead Monument near Beatrice -- @ChrisDunkerLJS

Margaret Reist, with LPS students in Lincoln -- @LJSreist

Nancy Hicks, on rooftops with revelers in Lincoln

JoAnne Young, Holmes Lake in Lincoln -- @LJSlegislature

Cory Matteson, Indian Cave State Park in Southeast Nebraska -- @LJSmatteson

Don Walton and Riley Johnson, with state officials at eclipse command center -- @LJSDon@LJSRileyJohnson

Kevin Abourezk, compiling video at sites in Lincoln -- @LJS_Abourezk

Update: 6:25 a.m. MDT

ALLIANCE -- At Carhenge around dawn Monday, amateur astronomer John Jaruzel mulled heading west to Wyoming for the promise of clear skies.

Jaruzel hails from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, also along the eclipse path, but with a generally greater chance for bad weather.

He scoped out Carhenge two years ago. Now it turns out Tennessee's sky is clear.

It's Jaruzel's third total solar eclipse, but the first for the friends and family he brought with him from Colorado and Seattle. A partial eclipse wouldn't compare.

"It's like the difference between seeing a lightning bug and seeing a lightning storm," he said. "I'd hate to think this was their chance and they missed out on it."

This is just a pitstop for Leonard "Krash" Krashoc, and he planned to stay regardless of cloud cover.

The retired commercial artist is on his way to Los Angeles to track down the actress Kaley Cuoco to give her a copy of his children's book, "Penny," which he named after her character from the TV show "The Big Bang Theory."

"I'm just having a good time, meeting with people and chatting with people from all over the world, really," he said.

-- Zach Pluhacek


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Assistant city editor

Zach Pluhacek is an assistant city editor.

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