While Eclipse America 2017 fizzled over the skies of Liberty County because of clouds, some area residents did see the spectacle.
Gloria and Roland Sweet of Long County started planning for it in January and landed at Santee Shores Campground on the north shore of Lake Marion between Santee and Summerton, S.C.
That area was one of the closest to Coastal Georgia that was to have a total eclipse. Here the coverage was estimated at 95-97 percent.
As the eclipse started just after 1 p.m., some clouds that had built up to the northeast of the lake moved over the area and obscured the first 10-15 minutes, but as more and more of the sun was covered, gaps in the clouds widened and by the time totality hit about 2:45 p.m., most of the sky was clear. A storm building southeast of the lake didn’t move clouds over the area until after the moon’s shadow had cleared about a half of the sun.
Gloria Sweet said they wanted the full show to help them celebrate her June retirement from teaching. She had been in the classroom for 27 years, the last 17 in Liberty County’s Lyman Hall Elementary.
While many of the campground’s guests and others went to the shore of the lake for the eclipse, the Sweet’s stayed at a swimming pool, which had an open area through the pine tree canopy.
The eclipse was the first in nearly 100 years that spanned the United States from coast to coast. Smaller swaths of the country experience total eclipses more often and the next, according to NASA, will be on April 8, 2024, and stretch diagonally across the U.S. from Texas through the Northeast.