Motorists are being warned to take extra precautions tonight and tomorrow as a winter storm is expected to make traveling difficult, even dangerous throughout Nebraska.
Freezing rain is likely, according to the National Weather Service, possibly mixed with sleet, especially in eastern Nebraska.
The Nebraska State Patrol issued the warning Sunday afternoon after troopers and local law enforcement responded to a number of accidents caused by the icy conditions. The patrol expects driving conditions to deteriorate Sunday evening and into Monday.
If you have to travel, keep up-to-date on the latest weather forecast and road conditions. Check in with the Nebraska Department of Roads traveler information website: 511.gov.
A Nebraska 511 mobile app is also available to download at no cost for smartphone users. Simply search your app provider for Nebraska 511.
NSP cautions motorists to be aware of the conditions, slow down, and have everyone in the vehicle buckle up.
“This storm is dangerous, and is creating hazardous driving conditions over a wide area,” NSP Superintendent Brad Rice said in a written statement released by NSP. “We ask motorists in the affected areas to be prepared and aware of weather and road conditions.”
The National Weather Service in Omaha reports freezing rain is likely, possibly mixed with sleet. It expects the precipitation to turn to all freezing rain after 3 o’clock in the morning Monday. Ice accumulation in the Omaha area is expected to be up to a third of an inch.
Rain and freezing rain is expected to continue throughout Monday, with more ice accumulation. The wintry mix, which could include snow by Monday night, isn’t expected to end until Tuesday, when temperatures are expected to rise above freezing.
Much the same forecast comes out of the NWS Hastings office, which predicts slightly colder temperatures for southeastern Nebraska with freezing rain developing very early Monday morning, possibly mixed with sleet. The freezing rain is expected to continue through Monday, changing to snow Monday afternoon, possibly mixed with sleet.
The Hastings office expects snow in the area to taper off around midnight Monday with temperatures rising into the mid-30s Tuesday.
The North Platte NWS office forecasts snow, possibly mixed with freezing rain, for western Nebraska. Little or now ice or snow accumulation is expected until tonight, when perhaps less than a tenth of an inch of ice accumulation is possible with snow accumulation of no more than an inch.
Snow showers are likely in western Nebraska Monday, before tapering off in the afternoon when weather conditions improve. Tuesday is expected to see sunny skies with a high in the low 40s.
Motorists in need of emergency roadside assistance can call the Nebraska State Patrol Highway Helpline when safe to do so by dialing *55 from any cell phone or 1-800-525-5555 from any landline, and report emergencies to 911.