March 31, 2015

Snow and ice covered tree and shrub care

The weekend snowstorm coated tree and shrub branches with ice before upwards of 10 inches of heavy, wet snow fell weighing them down even more. University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension Educator for Douglas and Sarpy Counties John Fech says if you are tempted to go outside and brush the snow off, don’t. 

Fech says because those branches are ice covered they are fragile. He says branches can easily snap if too much force is used to clear them. That can cause more damage to the tree or shrub than just leaving it alone. 

Those that just can’t resist removing the snow Fech recommends using a soft brush similar to the ones used to clear snow from cars. He says this has to be done with a very light hand to prevent breakage. 

The good news is Fech says most trees and shrubs will recover on their one come spring with very little damage.

Winter gives Nebraska a second punch

Snow on carA second round of severe winter weather has Nebraska in its grip, but the National Weather Service forecasts that grip to loosen after today.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory until noon over most of the state; eastern, central, and northwestern Nebraska. A winter storm warning is in effect until noon for much of west-central Nebraska and portions of the Panhandle.

The NWS state forecast calls for cloudy conditions with snow and blowing snow during the morning hours. Highs will range from 16 to 20 degrees in eastern and central Nebraska to 19 to 25 degrees in western Nebraska. High winds will drive the wind-chill well below those temperatures.

Tonight, the lows are expected to dip dangerously low: 1-to-5 below zero in the east; 2 below to 6 above in central Nebraska; and 10-to-18 degrees in the western portion of the state.

After today, weather forecasters predict a warming trend with highs heading toward the upper 20s in eastern Nebraska, freezing to around 40 in the central part of the state, and as high as 50 in western Nebraska. That warming trend is anticipated to continue and even improve over the weekend.

While snow is falling throughout Nebraska, a band of heavy snow is hitting eastern Nebraska. Lincoln, not recovered from the eight inches of snow dumped on the city over the weekend, braces for another snowstorm. This storm could produce another three to five inches, perhaps more. Omaha is expected to get slightly less.

Driving could prove difficult. Roads from the Panhandle east across the state have been completely covered with snow.

While the University of Nebraska-Lincoln remains open today, the University of Nebraska-Omaha has canceled activities for today.

Click here for road conditions from the Nebraska Department of Roads 511 website.

Weekend weather brings a brutal reminder that winter isn’t over (AUDIO)

Snowplow3A brutal weekend storm reminds all of us that winter isn’t over and that travelers must be prepared.

Captain Lance Rogers, Nebraska State Patrol Commander of Headquarters Troop-Lincoln, says the brutal blast of winter caught many drivers by surprise. A little preparation can make a big difference.

“Always, of course, carry those emergency first aid kits if you can in your vehicle,” Rogers tells Nebraska Radio Network.

He suggests carry a few extra clothes, such as extra coats, gloves, and hats. Also, blankets or a sleeping bag could provide warmth if you get stranded. Jumper cables and a tow rope would also be good winter accessories.

Motorists might want to consider packing some non-perishable food and bottled water.

Rogers advises motorists who land in a ditch or get stuck to stay with their car. If you have a cell phone, dial Star-55 to let the Patrol know you are stranded.

Both NSP and the Nebraska Department of Roads have a theme for bad weather: Know Before You Go.

“The ‘Know Before You Go’ portion is to dial 5-1-1 or to get on <> and check out the road conditions if they’re not going to call ahead first,” according to NDOR spokeswoman Mary Jo Oie.

Plan ahead. Leave early. Go slow.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]

Winter weather causes two fatal accidents in Nebraska

Nebraska Dept. of Roads traffic camera, I-80 late Monday morning near Grand Island

Nebraska Dept. of Roads traffic camera, I-80 late Monday morning near Grand Island

Icy conditions led to two fatal accidents in Nebraska.

The Nebraska State Patrol reports a 30-year-old trucker lost control on Interstate 80 during the snow Sunday morning. His truck collided with another semi tractor-trailer on the interstate. That accident as well as numerous others snarled traffic through northern Lincoln Sunday morning from Northwest 48th Street to the Waverly interchange.

The driver, who is from Illinois, has not been identified. The driver of the second truck was not injured, according to the Lincoln Police Department.

Snowy, icy conditions created slick roads throughout eastern Nebraska Sunday morning and through much of the state. Visibility was poor for those traveling.

Authorities closed U.S. 6 west of Lincoln and U.S. 34 east of the city for much of Sunday after high winds blew deep drifts across the roadways. The Nebraska Department of Roads reports closures and blockages on both U.S. 34 and U.S. 136 on Monday.

Slick conditions led to a second fatal accident in Saunders County. A collision on Nebraska 92 near Wahoo took the life of Kathleen Schulzkump, a passenger in one of two cars that collided. The two drivers are both being treated at Saunders County Medical Center.

The storm dumped as much as eight inches of snow on parts of eastern Nebraska.

Go to the Nebraska Department of Roads website for updates on road conditions by clicking here.

Parts of Husker State get 8″ of snow

Snow on carSome roads in eastern Nebraska are still in very poor shape following the weekend snowstorm. B.J. Fictum is the emergency management coordinator for Saline County and says their forecast called for a range of somewhere between one and eight inches — and the Wilber area got eight.

“There were two storm systems that merged and sat right over the top of us and dumped and dumped and dumped,” Fictum says. “It was kind of pretty until that wind arrived and then it got near blizzard conditions and that hasn’t produced any happy people at all.”

The state patrol reports two fatal crashes in the state on Sunday — one in Lincoln, the other near Wahoo.

By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice