December 21, 2014

Winter storm hits the Nebraska Panhandle, closing several schools

Highway 26, West of Scottsbluff

Highway 26, West of Scottsbluff

Roads are slick, icy, and snow packed in Sidney.

A hazmat call went out before 10:30 this morning for a jackknifed semi tractor-trailer at mile marker 63 that was leaking fuel.

We measured four inches of snow in Sidney’s Legion Park. Winds have been causing snow to drift in spots and around corners of buildings and parked vehicles. According to the National Weather Service, areas of Scotts Bluff County received a foot of snow.

NWS says most other areas could expect 5-7 inches before snow tapered off late morning.

Schools across the southern Panhandle were closed for the day, including Leyton Schools in Cheyenne County because there was no electricity.

A Winter Storm Warning is in place until 5 o’clock this evening Mountain Time for the eastern Panhandle and into central Nebraska.

By Dave Collins, KSID

Winter weather returning to Nebraska, NWS issues warning

Nebraska Department of Roads camera I-80 and Highway 138 at Big Springs

Nebraska Department of Roads camera I-80 and Highway 138 at Big Springs

A lot of weather is coming our way even as the state has experienced some rain, sleet, and snow already.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning today for western Nebraska into the north-central and northeastern portions of the state. A winter weather advisory has been issued from the southwest into northeast Nebraska.

The state forecast for today is for cloudy skies with snow and areas of blowing wind in western Nebraska. The National Weather Service expects a mix of rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow in the eastern part of the state, which should change into snow.

Temperatures will range from in the 30s in western Nebraska to between 40 and 50 in the other portions of the state.

Clouds will remain, but snow should end tomorrow.

Cold, cold fall doesn’t necessarily equal cold, cold winter (AUDIO)

Ken Dewey/Photo courtesy of University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Ken Dewey/Photo courtesy of University of Nebraska at Lincoln

A frigid fall doesn’t necessarily mean a nasty winter.

And yes, this fall has been as bad as you thought.

“It was like a plot in a bad movie where you take the wrong exit and then you start getting chased by all these villains. Autumn definitely took a detour and a wrong turn,” state Climatologist Ken Dewey with the University of Nebraska at Lincoln tells Jack and Dave in the Morning on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.

Dewey says a strong typhoon which formed in the Pacific Ocean drove cold air from the Artic to the lower 48, ushering in an early winter.

Dewey says while temperatures plummeted this fall to record lows across the nation, weather is returning to a more normal, albeit drier pattern. Dewey says Nebraska isn’t plunging into winter, and it’s not going back to a polar express either.

He says the cold, cold weather this month doesn’t necessary mean we will have a nasty winter.

“Will we make it to Christmas without any major snow? That’s difficult to forecast,” according to Dewey. “It’s just our winter signal right now seems to be that we’re going to have back and forth cold and warm, but a drier than normal winter.”

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:50]

Flood warning issued for south-central Nebraska near I-80

Nebraska Dept. of Roads camera near Grand Island

Nebraska Dept. of Roads camera near Grand Island

The threat of flooding has risen near Grand Island.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Hall County. An ice jam has formed in a channel of the Platte River. Water is backing up south of Interstate 80. It is feared that floodwater could swamp businesses on the south side of I-80 at Exit 312.

The National Weather Service has scheduled the warning to expire at 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon.

Prep winter survival kits now for home & car

Snow on carThe freezing temperatures Nebraskans are enduring this week should serve as something of a warning shot from Mother Nature to get properly prepared for the winter ahead.

Liz Dorland, spokeswoman for the Red Cross chapter in Omaha, says all motorists across the region should have an emergency kit in their vehicle’s trunk or back seat.

The kit should include things like: a warm blanket, waterproof boots, socks, hats, gloves and sand or non-clumping kitty litter for extra traction should you get stuck.

Dorland says you might also toss in a shovel.

It’s a wise idea to have another emergency kit assembled for the house, in case you get snowed in. The home emergency kit should include many of the same items that are in the vehicle’s kit.

She says, “Make sure you have extra food, bottled water, flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio would be great to have.” Also, make sure to have a cell phone charger handy.

While winter may still be six weeks away, Dorland says it’s a smart plan to be prepared well ahead of time.