The second round of snowfall to hit the Omaha area in four days might be heavier than anticipated.
The Omaha area could see 3 to 6 inches of snow, beginning late Sunday evening and continuing through Monday, according to Dan Pydynowski, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather. Earlier forecasts had predicted 1 to 2 inches of new snow, added to the roughly 8 inches that fell Thursday into Friday.
But just as happened with the first storm, the heaviest snow will fall in Kansas and Missouri, Pydynowski said. Parts of those states could see blizzard conditions, he said.
Wind gusts of 30-40 mph could blow through Omaha on Monday, with lighter sustained winds throughout the day.
The storm is currently moving across the Pacific Northwest into the Rocky Mountains, Pydynowski said, and is expected to hit Denver late tonight.
-- Patrick Duprey
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For two days, school-age children in Nebraska and Iowa have been freed from the rigors of school by snow days that delivered a four-day weekend.
So where were they Friday?
Many were at, well, schools.
Turns out that a number of schools, at least in the Omaha area, have fine sledding hills. And some of them draw devotees from quite a distance.
After waiting most of Thursday for sleddable snow to arrive, kids were ready to put it to use.
“We sat around waiting for the snow,” said Karen Bush, who drove a minivan load of five kids — hers and a friend's — to a steep slope behind Millard's Black Elk Elementary near 160th and Harrison Streets.
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• Click here for video of kids sledding.
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Thanks to their friends' mom, the back of the van was loaded with new snow gear, purchased on clearance when the storm was just a blip on meteorologists' radar screens. The inflatable inner tubes were a hit — cushier ride, longer travel time.
“Those tubes are the best we've had,” Bush said.
Chimed in her daughter, Cameron, “I've gotten the farthest so far.”
They also had good words for the hill. So did Maddie Joroski, 14, who suggested the hill to longtime friend Brooke Scott, 13.
“I've gone here ever since I was little,” Maddie said. “It's fun.”
Neither of the snow-covered girls were upset at missing school. “I had a Spanish quiz, and I didn't really want to take it,” Maddie said.
Haley Snawerdt, not wanting a repeat of last year's snow-day drought, took steps to secure some days off this year. She wore her pajamas inside-out two nights in a row, adopting one of several time-tested methods known to kids and elementary school teachers for making snow days happen.
Ed and Jodi Snawerdt took all five of their children to the slope west of St. Robert Bellarmine School to celebrate.
“They didn't get any last year,” Ed Snawerdt said. “So this is good.”
The Snawerdt children attend Mary Our Queen School. The family lives near 168th and Blondo Streets. But Jodi Snawerdt grew up close to St. Robert, near 120th and Pacific Streets, so the family knows the hill.
Jay Moore also was willing to drive to a sledding slope. His children attend Christ the King School. “We don't really have a good one,” he said.
The Moores gave new meaning to the concept of piling on. “Yeah, let's do a three-er!” called Ava Moore, as she and Jonah, 9, layered themselves on their dad's back and all three slid down the hill together.
The only snow day concern voiced on the slopes Friday was that students might run out of days. “As long as we don't have to make them up at the end of the year,” said Jeff Laird, who took his two daughters to Papillion-La Vista South High School.
In Lincoln, Pioneers Park Nature Center also was a flurry of activity Friday.
“(Four-day weekends) are really cool because you don't have to go to school and learn,” said Alec Addison, a 12-year-old who attends Mickle Middle School.
The children were taking advantage of sledding ramps at the park to gain speed. Alec said he reached speeds of almost 10 mph.
And that led to lots of fun, said his 10-year-old sister, Jenna.
“Because at the end you get a face full of snow,” she said. “I like having the snow flying up in my face.”
For Joshua Winig, a student at Columbus Christian Middle School, the snow days have been a good way to get away from the grind of school. But that doesn't mean he's turned off his alarm clock.
“I haven't been sleeping in,” Joshua said. “I want to go out in the snow and play video games.”
The children weren't the only ones out having fun at Pioneers Park. Jodi Letkiewicz, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, broke out a pair of cross-country skis she rented from UNL's Outdoor Adventures' Gear Shop in the Campus Rec Center during her lunch hour.
Letkiewicz, who teaches personal finance, quickly got away from the sledding hill and the parking lot and was alone at the park.
“Once you get far out there it's just really quiet,” she said. “It's just kind of you and the trees and the snow.”
Robby Korth of The World-Herald's Lincoln Bureau contributed to this report.
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Snowstorm dies down as it heads out
A major winter storm made Midwest commutes treacherous Friday before the system petered out over the Great Lakes.
At least four deaths were linked to the storm, including three from traffic accidents brought on by gusty winds and snow-covered roadways. Hundreds of weather-related vehicle accidents were reported throughout the Midwest, including more than 500 in Minnesota alone.
In Ohio, which was clipped by the storm, a United Airlines plane slid off a slick runway at the Cleveland airport onto a grassy area, but no injuries were reported.
The southern Kansas town of Zenda received the most snow, with a reported 18 inches on the ground.
In some locations, the storm didn't live up to the hype. At the Pilot Flying J station near Interstate 29 in southwest Iowa, shift manager Kelly Malone said Friday that his company had taken precautions for employees by reserving rooms at a nearby motel.
“We were prepared for the worst, but it didn't happen that bad,” he said.
— Associated Press