November 25, 2015

Snow, freezing rain in Nebraska’s Thanksgiving forecast

Nebraskans planning travel on Thanksgiving Day should be ready for some form of precipitation. National Weather Service Meteorologist Van DeWald says those in western Nebraska can expect a couple inches of snowfall. He says the biggest problems will be in central and eastern Nebraska.

DeWald says, “Thursday morning it should be warm enough for all rain but as the temperatures drop Thursday afternoon that is when we turn over to that mix of sleet and freezing rain. The accumulation of the ice could be one-tenth of an inch and maybe a little bit more. That is a significant amount of ice and could cause travel problems.”

DeWald says for eastern Nebraska the freezing rain will be followed by snow and about an inch is in the forecast with more snow north of the metro area.

Travelers are advised to keep close tabs on the weather and plan accordingly.

If your car ends up snowbound today, are you prepared?

Icy Car MirrorWith snow in the forecast and Thanksgiving travel next week, Nebraska motorists are encouraged to take a few precautions, pronto. An emergency kit is a must for your vehicle’s trunk, so you’re prepared for the unexpected.

Ann Avery, the Nebraska spokeswoman for State Farm Insurance, says several staples should be in everyone’s vehicle, before the winter winds start whipping.

“Some of the things include: jumper cables and making sure you have an ice scraper back in the car,” Avery says. “Check the spare tire, make sure it’s in the car and that it’s at the proper inflation. Be sure you have blankets, extra warm clothing. A cell phone charger — we depend on that cell phone. If you get into an emergency, make sure you are able to charge it.”

Other helpful items to have handy include: road salt or cat litter to help with tire traction, a flashlight (with working batteries), matches or a lighter, duct tape, a small tool kit and a tow strap. Avery offers a few more suggestions.

“A first aid kit, water, food that won’t expire in the trunk, and crucial medications,” Avery says. “If you should get caught and stuck on the side of the road, you want to make sure you have those medications.”

If there’s a teenage driver under your roof, Avery says you should talk to them about the importance of this kit.

“Our information shows a lot of teens reported not having all the necessary supplies they need in their trunk,” Avery says. “Check the car the teen is using as well. Have them put the emergency kit together with you so they see what goes into it and understand why it’s all there.”

Other items that you might consider for your emergency kit are: a hazard triangle with reflectors, flares, a brightly-colored flag or “HELP” sign, and a tarp for sitting or kneeling in the snow for doing exterior work like a tire change.

Winter returns to much of Nebraska Friday

Many Nebraskans will be breaking out the snow shovel on Friday. Brian Smith is the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley and says a fast moving clipper system will arrive in the northern part of the state Friday morning toward the Nebraska – South Dakota border and spread to the southeast during the day.

Smith says five to six inches of snow could fall in the Sioux City metro area. The Chadron area could see three to four inches of snow. Upwards of three inches is expected in the Omaha metro area, an inch in Lincoln and a dusting in North Platte.

Along with the snow, Smith says the wind will pick up Friday evening and there could be gusts upwards of 25 miles per hour and that could cause some visibility problems for drivers. Another issue will be the cold temperatures.   Smith says the low overnight Friday will likely be in the upper teens to lower 20’s and highs this weekend in the 30’s. He says warmer weather returns on Monday with highs near the 40 degree mark.

High winds, little snow, western Nebraska avoids blizzard

Nebraska Dept. of Roads camera on I-80 west of Kimball

Nebraska Dept. of Roads camera on I-80 west of Kimball

The wind blew, but the snow didn’t fall as expected and western Nebraska got lucky.

Blizzard conditions forecast by the National Weather Service failed to materialize in southwestern and western Nebraska, though it did get cold and the winds did pick up.

Only flurries developed in southwestern Nebraska. Winds gust up to 40 miles per hour at times.

Forecaster Matt Masek with the National Weather Service says the area dodged a bullet.

“The blizzard that was expected is not going to materialized to the way that we expected,” Masek tells High Plains Radio, an affiliate of Nebraska Radio Network.

Masek says the precipitation isn’t over. Western Nebraska could still see some more snow overnight.

“I think for the most part the wind is going to be biggest issue, at least into the evening hours,” Masek says.

The Nebraska State Patrol and the Kimball County Sheriff’s Office confirm there have been some vehicles blown over on Interstate 80 in the Panhandle due to high winds.

By Ryan Baker, High Plains Radio

Warning: winter storm heading western Nebraska’s way

Snowy_roadsA winter storm warning has been issued for western Nebraska, which could see up to eight inches of snow fall after a storm roaring through Colorado moves east.

The National Weather Service in North Platte issued the storm warning set to begin at three o’clock in the morning Tuesday and end at midnight Tuesday. Travel could become extremely hazardous.

According to the National Weather Service, rainfall will change to snow late tonight and continue through the day Tuesday. Snow could become heavy at times. Seven to 10 inches of snow could fall, with some amounts even heavier across far southwestern Nebraska.

Northeastern Colorado could see up to 18 inches of snow.

Wind will be brisk, according to NWS, gusting from 20 to 30 mph late tonight. Wind speeds will stay strong throughout Tuesday, with gusts reaching 40 mph in open areas.

NWS warns that the combination of wet snow and wind will make travel dangerous, if not impossible at times Tuesday.

Travelers are advised to pack food, water, and flashlights if going out and to travel only if it is an emergency.

Ryan Baker, High Plains Radio, contributed to this report.