Rainy, snowy weather from the weekend shifts to sunshine this week, but drivers will have to get past the hurdle of slick roads Monday morning.
The moisture-laden storm dumped more than a foot of snow across the north-central part of the state and sent drivers careening out of control on icy stretches along much of Interstate 80 and other roads Sunday. Conditions were expected to deteriorate early Monday as temperatures dropped and winds whipped up the snow. The storm also set daily precipitation records Saturday in eastern Nebraska and elsewhere, including in Omaha and Lincoln.
On Sunday night, streets turned slick in Omaha. On Monday morning, drivers in the metro area could encounter slick spots from overnight snow. Otherwise, the day is expected to be raw, as winds gust between 30 mph and 40 mph and temperatures remain stuck in the 20s.
Omaha road crews were out salting streets Sunday night into Monday morning, said Austin Rowser, the city’s street maintenance engineer. If snowfall becomes heavy enough, crews would also plow, he said.
That work by city crews should help, but drivers should still take care, especially in rural areas, said Dave Pearson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. Even a little bit of snow can create icy conditions, he said.
On Sunday, icy roads kept the Nebraska State Patrol and Department of Transportation busy. The patrol reported that it had helped 100 motorists “and counting” by late Sunday afternoon. The Department of Transportation reported that several sections of Interstate 80 were temporarily closed during the day because of wrecks or jackknifed semitrailer trucks. Included among the closures was a stretch between Omaha and Lincoln.
Aaron Mangels, a meteorologist at the weather service’s Hastings office, said the primary cause of travel problems Sunday was Saturday’s rain followed by heavy, wet snow that froze on roadways, turning surfaces icy.
Winds gusted to 50 mph or more in parts of Nebraska on Sunday, and wind-blown snow intermittently reduced visibility, said Nathan Jurgensen of the weather service’s North Platte office.
The sweet spot for heavy snow was central and northern Nebraska, from about Broken Bow north to the South Dakota border, Jurgensen said. Farther north, in the Dakotas, blizzard conditions raged.
With this storm, we expected high winds to make for hazardous driving conditions today. You can see our crews out in force, but travel is not advised. Please give our crews the time and space to do their jobs. Your safe travel is our business! #neroads pic.twitter.com/TqbdvhLacS— Nebraska DOT (@NebraskaDOT) December 29, 2019
As of Sunday late afternoon, the village of Ansley, Nebraska, had reported 15 inches of snow, according to a weather service snowfall map. Milburn reported 14.5 inches, Armour had 13.5 and Broken Bow recorded 13.
Chadron had reported 12 inches, and Kearney was near 11.
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Snows covers the majority of roads in west/north/central Nebraska this morning.— NEStatePatrol (@NEStatePatrol) December 29, 2019
With all the rain we got as well, ice is possible on areas both with snow and without.
IF you have to travel today, take it slow and practice safe winter driving. #BeSafe #NeRoads pic.twitter.com/AeR3DfKRpc
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