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A winter storm poised to move into Nebraska on Saturday will have a bit of a split personality.
The storm is expected to move in Saturday afternoon and last into Sunday, delivering snow in the west and rain in the east, where warmer conditions will prevail.
The primary band of snow will stretch across western and north-central Nebraska into South Dakota, said Dave Fobert, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley, Neb.
The heaviest snow — 8 to 10 inches — is expected in South Dakota. Parts of Nebraska north of a line from Ogallala to Stapleton to O'Neill could see 5 to 10 inches of snow by Sunday evening. Snowfall amounts are expected to taper to 2 to 4 inches in central Nebraska.
Winds also are expected to pick up across the area, with gusts up to 45 to 50 mph by Sunday morning, said Bill Taylor, a weather service meteorologist in North Platte. The combo has prompting a blizzard watch for the area and for parts of South Dakota beginning Saturday evening.
The approaching storm has forecasters urging westbound travelers to reconsider their plans — or to travel early on Saturday.
“Saturday afternoon and night, (going) west and northwest won't be a good idea,” Fobert said.
Eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, on the other hand, will remain on the warm side of the storm, he said. The weather service has called for a high of 50 degrees in the Omaha metropolitan area Saturday, dipping to a low of 38 overnight. Sunday's high is listed at 46, with a low that night of 25.
That means precipitation will land in the metro area as rain. Forecasts call for an 80 percent chance of rain Saturday night in Omaha and a 50 percent chance on Sunday. However, it's not expected to amount to much — around a quarter of an inch in the metropolitan area, Fobert said.
There's also a possibility of scattered thunderstorms. Fobert said it could bring a “clap of thunder here or there Saturday night.”
The storm expected on the East Coast, however, won't affect Nebraska or Iowa weather. “That's strictly an East Coast show,” Fobert said.
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