JULESBURG, Colo. (CBS4)– The experts all say 100 percent is much better than 99, the difference between night and day- literally. But if you want the best Colorado experience to see the eclipse, there is a town… several, in fact, that would love you to visit!
Head up Interstate 76 to the northeast corner of the state. Julesburg will have 99.1 percent coverage, the closest Colorado will get to a total solar eclipse.
The maximum eclipse there will be at 11:57 a.m. Monday weather permitting, and the visibility forecast is good so far. That means the sun will be almost totally obscured for a minute or two just before noon.
The local newspaper, the Julesburg Advocate, states Sedgwick County officials and emergency responders met on Monday to plan for the big event. Extra staff is being brought in, and the local hospital has stocked extra snake venom and tetracaine for burnt eyes.
The small town of Peetz wants eclipse watchers to consider stopping there too. It’s in Logan County just south of the Wyoming state line, and will have about 98 percent of the sun obscured at the peak of the eclipse. (Frankly though, they’d rather you come for their big celebration next month. Peetz Sake Days this year honors the town’s 100th anniversary Sept. 29 and 30.)
Fort Collins gets a pretty good 95 percent obscured view and Denver’s 92 percent. Durango and Cortez, in the southwest corner of the state, have Colorado’s lowest percentage, around 80 percent.
The neighboring states of Wyoming and Nebraska are both expecting huge crowds to head their way because they’re in the path of the total eclipse.
Interstate 25 is expected to be jammed this weekend and Monday. Towns including Guernsey, Glendo, Douglas and Casper, Wyoming are three to four hours drive from Denver and lodging is already booked. It’s the same for Nebraska destinations like Scottsbluff, Alliance and North Platte up I-76.
CDOT is gearing up with extra patrols the next few days, and expects traffic back to the Denver area on I-25 and I-76 to be the worst on Monday, as many eclipse-watchers may decide to try to return home at the same time.
LINKS: NASA Maps