Authorities say bitterly cold weather combined with harsh winds late this morning, creating a ground blizzard effect that caused a fatal car wreck in southeast Nebraska.
Gage County Sheriff Millard Gustafson says a woman couldn’t get her sports utility vehicle to stop on icy Highway 136 and it slid into the path of a pick-up which smashed into the passenger side, killing the woman.
Gustafson says ice left in the aftermath of the snowstorm combined with the wind to create whiteout conditions.
“A very, very brutal wind and it carried the fine snow and it was just like ice pellets just cut into your skin,” Gustafson tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KWBE.
The woman who was killed is identified as 54-year-old Suzan Debourge, of Fairbury. The driver of the pick-up, 61-year-old Thomas Lohmeier of Hebron, was taken to Beatrice Community Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
Gustafson warns Nebraska drivers to be cautious during this period of extremely cold temperatures.
“You can go along and think the road is pretty good and, all of the sudden, you have black ice you can’t tell,” Gustafson says. “If they are going to travel I just recommend they go very, very slow, because it’s very deceiving.”
Northwest winds with gusts of up to 40 miles per hour created a ground blizzard effect on east-west roadways in southeast Nebraska, for much of Thursday, whipping snow that had fallen Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.