It's shaping up to be Black Ice Friday. 

Law enforcement agencies were cautioning motorists to take it easy as slick spots were forming, or were expected to form, as temperatures hovered around freezing Thursday night into Friday morning.

Lincoln saw freezing drizzle and about 20 crashes, involving many more vehicles, from about 7:30 to 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night, said Lincoln Police Capt. Ben Kopsa.

Likewise, Madison County in northeast Nebraska saw "dangerous road conditions due to freezing rain." A press release from Sheriff Todd Volk said "multiple vehicles are in ditches" and semitrailer trucks had jackknifed.

Though most of the ice-covered roads were reported southwest and northwest of Omaha, the National Weather Service urged Omaha-area motorists to use caution Thursday night into Friday morning. Omaha has a 60% chance of freezing drizzle from midnight through 9 a.m. Friday. 

"Be careful traveling home from those turkey dinners and heading to the stores early Friday morning," the weather service tweeted. "Roads may be slick, especially on bridges and overpasses." 

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The majority of the crashes Thursday night in Lincoln were the result of slick spots on bridges on the west and north sides of the capital city.

In the most serious crash, a Lincoln woman had to be extricated from her car and taken to the hospital after at least five cars crashed on the 27th Street viaduct over railroad tracks in north Lincoln, Kopsa said. 

Lincoln police shut down 27th Street from Holdrege Street to about Cornhusker Highway because of the crash. The accident initially involved just a couple of cars, but several more cars slid into the original cars. 

Earlier in the evening, police blocked off other streets for a while because of crashes along bridges, including on Rosa Parks Way and A Street near First Street. Another vehicle rolled over near Sun Valley Boulevard and Interstate 180. The driver was not seriously injured. 

Kopsa asked motorists to be safe — and shoppers to consider whether they really "need" that Black Friday deal. 

"We're just urging extreme caution," he said. "It's obviously not worth risking your own safety and the safety of others out there. Give yourself extra time if you need to go out. Emphasis on the word 'need.' "

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Reporter - Courts

Todd Cooper covers courts, lawyers, trials, legal issues, the justice system and government wrongdoing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @CooperonCourts. Phone: 402-444-1275.

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