People in WA and OR describe their experience watching the solar - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

People in WA and OR describe their experience watching the solar eclipse

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WASHINGTON AND OREGON - The Great American Eclipse: today, millions of people banded together to view the total eclipse across the United States. Reporter Crystal Garcia headed down to John Day, Oregon to take part in the path of totality along with the crowds of people from all over the Pacific Northwest.

One of the first places in the U.S. to experience today's solar eclipse was Silverton, Oregon. You can see just a sliver of orange before it flashes into totality. Totality in Silverton was at 10:17 this morning. 

In the Tri-Cities and Yakima, it wasn't a total eclipse, but about 96 percent of the sun was blocked...that happened around 10:24.

Reporter Mackenzie Allen went to the Bechtel National Planetarium at Columbia Basin College in Pasco for a viewing party, and she says she's seen shorter lines at Disneyland. Even before the event started, there were about a thousand people lined up to get glasses.

With just 350 pairs of eclipse glasses and more than a thousand people waiting in line, the folks at the Bechtel National Planetarium had to ration glasses and only give out one pair per family. But even that wasn't enough for everyone.

The Withers family were some of the lucky ones - showing up an hour and a half before the event began.

"When we got here there was like maybe 20 people here, and then it just poured in after that," said Porter Withers, who got in line at 7:30.

And while many of the people at CBC today are locals, the Wymers traveled from Ohio to visit family.

"After we bought the tickets a few months ago we found out it was going to happen," said Brandon Wymer. "It was like perfect timing for while we're out here." 

"Much darker here than Ohio, so hey, why not," said Joe Wymer.

And what a sight it was, especially for those who had never seen an eclipse before.

"Like we've seen video you know, or something like that, but this is really cool," said Cole Purvis, who was also visiting from Ohio. "Much better in person; much better."

But whether coming from nearby or far away, for just about everyone...today was about family.

"It's fun to watch the kids and watch them learn," said Robbin DeWitt, who brought her family to CBC for the eclipse. "And they're drawing pictures of the eclipse, so they remember it, they said."  

Not quite a once-in-a-lifetime experience...but close.

Meanwhile, the party continued over in Toppenish. About 100 people gathered at Heritage University to take in the eclipse. Reporter Gilbert Magallon was there, and learned that for Joshua Marquez - like many others - this eclipse was his first.

"My parents, they were talking about the one that happened so many years ago and now this the first eclipse that I am going to be witnessing, so I'm pretty excited for it," said Marquez.

"I'm expecting to see little rings around the sun," said Alejandro Alviso, another observer.

People waited in anticipation until 9:09, when the moon finally began to cover the sun.

"It's kind of like the moon but it's like dipped in a little bit and it is really bright," said Mirella Sanchez as she watched the eclipse.

"The right side, it's starting to look like a cookie," said Gladys Sohappy, who watched with her two granddaughters. "Somebody took a bite out of the cookie."

As the sun became covered, it got darker and the temperature dropped. When the clock struck 10:22, the eclipse hit its peak. For a little more than two minutes, the moon covered 96 percent of the sun.

"What I'm seeing right now with these glasses is a crescent shape of the sun, but instead we're seeing the moon which is about to cover it," said Dylan Rebollosa.

When it was over, people were left with an unforgettable experience.

"It's something in my life that was cool to experience," said Marquez.

If you were also outside watching the eclipse, you probably noticed the temperature change.

The National Weather Service shared a graphic showing the regional temperature changes. According to them, in Hermiston, it dropped four degrees. It dropped four degrees in Pasco as well, and three degrees in Yakima. Experts say it may have felt even cooler because you weren't feeling the sun hitting your skin, like being in the shade.

The closer to totality, the cooler it got. Temperatures dropped seven degrees in Pendleton, and nine degrees in Prineville.

And what if you missed this awesome phenomenon? Well no worries, because we got plenty of viewer photos of the eclipse. To check them out, simply click here: The Great American Solar Eclipse Slideshow 2017

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