Gov. Pete Ricketts opens a news conference in his hearing room at the Capitol in a different manner.
“We’ve got a fun press conference today,” Ricketts tells reporters. “We are talking about the Great American Eclipse that will be going through our state.”
The so-called path of totality enters Nebraska in the late morning of August 21st, Mountain Time and continues through the early afternoon Central Time.
“Nebraska is one of the prime viewing states for this eclipse, because of our weather conditions in August,” Ricketts says. “We are likely to have clear weather and then have a great way to be able to see the eclipse.”
No one knows how many visitors the eclipse will attract to Nebraska. Rough estimates give a wide range, between 100,000 and 400,000.
Cities and towns throughout Nebraska have been preparing for as many as two years for this event. Scottsbluff, Alliance, North Platte, Kearney, Grand Island, Hastings, Lincoln, and Beatrice all have events planned for the weekend prior (August 21st is a Monday).
Many smaller communities have events planned, such as Stapleton, Tryon, Broken Bow, Callaway, Ravenna, Auburn, and Falls City, among others.
The communities have banded together to form the Nebraska Eclipse Coalition to promote events along the path of totality.
Nebraska Tourism Commission Director John Ricks isn’t sure how many visitors to expect, but he senses a growing enthusiasm.
“Hotels across the state, many of them are full, they’re sold out already,” Ricks says. “In addition to that, what we’re finding now is communities that are nearby are also getting a lot of activity. For example, Chadron down into the Alliance area, they’re pretty much booked, too.”
Ricketts says state agencies have mobilized in an effort to handle the huge influx of visitors.
NASA has a special website for the 2017 eclipse August 21st, click here to go there.