The big chill taking hold in Nebraska and western Iowa means more rain for Omahans, layers of warm clothing for Husker fans — and snow shovels for the least fortunate.
Rain in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa is likely to continue through Friday night, forecasters said. Saturday and Sunday will bring temperatures in the 50s.
Big Red Nation could experience conditions Saturday markedly different from NU's first four games in Lincoln, when game-time temps spiked into the 80s and 90s. Husker football fans attending the 11 a.m. Big Ten Conference clash against Illinois may need to bundle up against stiff winds and temperatures that will peak in the lower 50s.
Meanwhile, in the Nebraska Panhandle, conditions could turn winter-like early Friday through Friday night. Strong winds and a snow accumulation of up to 9 inches are forecast in the Pine Ridge area.
The storm system that began around midnight Thursday in the Omaha area brought varying rainfall totals to eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. The National Weather Service reported the heaviest rainfall in the Neligh area, where 6.3 inches was reported by midmorning Thursday. Oakdale, just southeast of Neligh, reported 4.1 inches, and areas northeast of West Point recorded 2.8 inches.
Omaha's Eppley Airfield reported .87 inches by 9 a.m. Thursday and the Millard Airport had 1.18 inches.
Rain was forecast to redevelop late Thursday afternoon, said Bryon Miller, a meteorologist at the weather service's Valley, Neb., office. He put the chances of more rain through tonight at 50 percent.
Thursday morning's storm included thunder and lightning in the Omaha area, which may have led to a handful of customer losing power in Douglas and Washington Counties, according to Omaha Public Power District's Jodi Baker. Weather-related outages affecting nine customers were reported Thursday morning in Washington County, she said. Nine customers were without power near 75th and Dodge Streets after a lightning strike nearby about 4:10 a.m.
Friday afternoon into Friday night, Miller said, a frontal boundary should move through eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, bringing a 60 percent chance of more rain.
Temperatures in the Omaha area Thursday and Friday will hover near 80 degrees, Miller said, but quickly drop into the 50s under increasingly windy conditions. There is a slight chance of precipitation Saturday in the Omaha area.
Temperatures likely will climb back to more seasonable highs in the 70s by Monday, Miller said.
In the Nebraska Panhandle, he said, the Scottsbluff and Chadron areas were likely to receive a rain-snow mix with little to no accumulation tonight. However, Chadron can expect snow and blowing snow early Friday into Friday night, Miller said, with a possible accumulation of 8 to 9 inches. Alliance and Scottsbluff could get up to 5 inches.
Mike Wieland of the weather service office in Cheyenne, Wyo., said a winter storm warning was issued for Friday and Friday night in the northern Panhandle counties of Sioux, Dawes and Box Butte. Winds in the area will blow at 30 to 40 mph, he said, with gusts reaching 50 mph.
By Saturday, temps in the northern Panhandle are likely to be in the 40s, climbing into the 50s Sunday through Wednesday, he said.