Even With Clouds, Iowa Eclipse Watchers Catch a Glimpse of Totality

HAMBURG, Iowa  --  People in southwest Iowa didn’t have high hopes for viewing the Great American Solar Eclipse, but many traveled to Hamburg Bend along the Missouri River for a gathering to watch the eclipse.

A tiny 540-acre sliver of land in Hamburg Bend is the only spot in Iowa to catch totality, even for just about 30 seconds.

"Our museum has been promoting this event since January,” said Sandra Bengston of the Fremont County Historical Society. “It’s just something, a great service that we can provide to the public.”

The Fremont Historical Society was also giving away eclipse glasses, making it safe for people to look at the sun. The Hamburg schools were grilling hot dogs to give away, and one viewer brought his guitar and played songs by The Beatles.

As the eclipse began, it was still cloudy, but those with the glasses could view the event though the clouds. As time neared for the total eclipse, clouds thickened and no one could see what was going on. All of a sudden, the clouds opened to the site of the moon, fully covering the sun.

Applause went up from the gallery.

"Pretty amazing in that the clouds burst apart just at the right time, it was like, it was just perfect,” said Skip Kennedy of Council Bluffs.

“It was gorgeous, it was really beautiful,” said Jim Stearns of Urbandale, who is a member of the Des Moines Astronomical Society. “I realize it's an astronomical event but it's just so unique.”