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State by state, solar eclipse stuns millions

Hundreds gathered at the top of Portland's Rocky Butte on Monday morning to view the total solar eclipse. (Photo taken August, 21, 2017 by Tristan Fortsch, KATU News)

The path of totality of Monday's solar eclipse stretched across 14 states, and crowds came from around the world to witness the rare celestial event. Aside from heavy traffic, and obviously the extraordinary sight in the sky, the hours of the eclipse itself were largely uneventful. Here's what happened in some of the states with the best views.

OREGON

Spectators gathered in many locations across the state, the first one to experience the eclipse. Hundreds came together at the top of Rocky Butte in Portland, while dozens watched from Mt. Tabor. Much larger crowds were seen in more rural areas like Madras and Salem.

“It was the most awe-inspiring thing I ever witnessed, hands down!" Steven Rosenow, who was filming the eclipse near Madras, told KATU. "The change of the light and the temperature drop was noticeable as totality approached and shadows became more defined. The view of the corona was incredible! Absolutely amazing, like silky strands emanating from a halo. It was incredible!”

The Associated Press reported that the Single-A baseball teams the Hillsboro Hops and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes paused their game briefly while the eclipse passed. The Volcanoes wore eclipse-themed jerseys for the “total Eclipse of the Park” event and players put on eclipse glasses when the moment of totality occurred in the middle of the first inning.

Julia DuBois and Stephan Baker traveled from Seattle to Newport, Oregon to watch the eclipse, but once the sun disappeared, Baker shocked DuBois by proposing. She said yes.

On Tuesday morning, Portland airport staff prepared to face the tens of thousands of visitors trying to catch flights out of town.

WASHINGTON

In Seattle, lines backed up for blocks outside viewing parties at Pacific Science Center and the Museum of Flight. During the eclipse, temperatures in the area dropped by four to five degrees.

Hundreds boarded the Washington State Ferry Chimacum to witness the eclipse from the Puget Sound.

IDAHO

Eclipse enthusiasts traveled to Idaho from around the world for the four-day Weiser Eclipse Festival.

"We have the majority from the United States. All over the United States. We have two parties coming in from Japan, one from Spain... and then another party from Denmark," motel owner Kerry Kendall told KBOI.

Many paid $100 a night to reserve their spot at Weiser High School, believed to be one of the best places to view the event.

In Caldwell, a baby was born exactly one minute before the eclipse began. St. Luke's Hospital in Boise reported two births during the eclipse.

ILLINOIS

About 14,000 people came to Saluki Stadium at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale to watch the eclipse Monday, an area where the duration of the totality of the eclipse will be longest.

TENNESSEE

A massive viewing party in Gallatin attracted thousands. The city had 20,000 pairs of eclipse glasses to hand out and every one of its police officers was on duty.

Several watch parties were also held in Chattanooga, including one at the Tennessee Aquarium.

At the Nashville Zoo, staff said some of the animals became much more active during the eclipse, but others just thought it was nighttime and prepared to go to sleep.

MISSOURI

According to the Associated Press, hundreds gathered at the Missouri Capitol, including a couple from Costa Rica who had last seen a solar eclipse in 1991.

About 2,500 people attended a viewing party at Ellis-Porter Riverside Park in Jefferson City.

A Columbia-based meteorologist, Eric Aldrich, helped coordinate NASA’s live broadcast, which featured a feed from Jefferson City for about seven minutes.

At Boone Hospital Center in Columbia, a baby was born during the partial eclipse.

KENTUCKY

Officials in Hopkinsville expected 50,000 visitors from 29 countries and 46 states for the eclipse. The totality lasted for nearly three minutes there, among the longest in the country. The city invested a half million dollars in preparing for the event.

"You always wonder if people don't maybe stay home because they hear it's going to be so crazy they shouldn't come out,” Gov. Matt Bevin told WKRC. “I hope you report out to people that get in your car and come on out and find a viewing area. The traffic on the highway is moving unbelievably well. Even on the road in town, maybe fifty cars."

At the Ludlow-Bromley Yacht Club in Ludlow, 49-year old Alphonse Mele and 45-year-old Michelle Schneider exchanged wedding vows as the moon was passing over the sun.

NORTH CAROLINA

Franklin, North Carolina was another town attracting thousands from across the country to view the eclipse. A massive block party was set up downtown with music, shops, and a slip ‘n slide.

Clingman’s Dome, the highest spot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was another popular viewing location. According to WLOS, about 1,600 people gathered in the parking area there to watch the first total solar eclipse visible from the mountain range since 1869.

In Rosman, the community planted a sycamore sapling grown from seeds taken on board the Apollo 14 mission to the moon by astronaut Stuart Roosa.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Traffic was gridlocked both before and after the eclipse passed over Garden City, South Carolina. WPDE reported that many of the vehicles stuck on the road bore out-of-state plates.

A suspect was still being sought Tuesday in a bank robbery that occurred around the time that the eclipse was passing over Conway. Two employees of CresCom Bank were killed.

All babies born on August 21 in the Greenville Health System received special total eclipse onesies. One couple named their newborn daughter Eclipse Alizebeth in honor of the event.

Beachgoers sought out locations in Myrtle Beach to watch the eclipse, even though the city was outside the path of totality.


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