View of eclipse, size of Monday crowd all depend on weather

Scientists have known for decades that the skies will grow dark over Hamilton County Monday during a rare total solar eclipse, though our view of this spectacle now depends entirely on the weather man. Will we see it or will we not?
It’s sort of ironic, actually, that the stars will line up overhead for this once in 700 years viewing opportunity, putting Aurora and Hamilton County smack dab in the middle of the path of totality. And yet, the weather forecast we watch every other single day of our lives will dictate whether it’s just another cloudy day, perhaps a little darker than most around 1 p.m., or a day people of all ages might remember for the rest of their lives.
Regardless, a lot of brainstorming and logistical planning has gone into this week’s schedule of events and with any luck we’ll see our local population spike to record levels, if only for a day. It’s hard to imagine the size of crowds some officials are predicting (as many as 71,000 eclipse followers between highways 281 in Grand Island and 81 in York), but if the skies are clear this is in fact is a great place to be.
With that in mind, we say welcome to our ecliptical friends and invite you to look around our community while you’re here. This is a pretty progressive piece of the heartland where world class ag producers grow incredible crops that help feed the world and schools, hospital and quality of life are top notch. That may sound like a chamber of commerce line, but it’s the gospel truth.
This week’s edition features a number of stories detailing eclipse-related issues. We urge you to plan ahead and figure out where you want to be on Monday well ahead of time, bringing your safety classes and perhaps a snack or lunch. The food factor is one of the biggest single challenges of the day, with vendors not knowing how many people to cook for, so be prepared.
It’s all about unique exposure come Monday, with our view of the sun and the number of folks who flock to Hamilton County as a destination stop all depending on the weather.
Let’s cross our fingers for some sunshine!
Kurt Johnson

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