It might be a while before the full impact of the blizzard that struck parts of the Panhandle is known.
Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Assistant Director Al Berndt surveyed the damage done by the blizzard that struck the northern third of the Panhandle.
Heidemann says local governments and residents haven’t waited for the state or federal governments to help with clean-up. He says hundreds of truckloads of debris, mainly from fallen trees have been hauled off. Work continues to open roads.
“The drifts were pretty tremendous. They shared pictures with us trying to get some of the local roads open of drifts ten feet deep where it would take a couple of hours to break through a mile of road,” Heidemann tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Heidemann and Berndt observed the damage in the Chadron, Crawford and Hemingford areas.
Between 10 and 12 inches of snow fell on those areas. Winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour created huge drifts. Gusts hit 70 miles per hour during the height of the blizzard.
The wet snow and winds brought down trees, even light poles.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of head of cattle died in the blizzard.
Heidemann estimates it will weeks for ranchers to total the loss of cattle.
“It came up fast. They weren’t prepared for it. They tried to move some of the cattle. Some of them they couldn’t get to, to move them,” Heidemann, who is a livestock producer himself, says. It appeared that some of these cattle actually got into shelter, but they ended up because there were 10 foot drifts they literally got covered up.”
Heidemann expects the blizzard to have a big impact on the northern part of the Panhandle.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]