Travel is being discouraged as a blizzard rolls through the state, reducing visibility on Nebraska roadways.
Nebraska State Patrol spokesman Cody Thomas says the strong winter storm has spread across the state.
“The state of Nebraska as a whole, if you check the 511 map on their website right now, is showing that nearly every highway around the state is completely covered with snow,” Thomas tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Now that may be impacted by some of the wind that’s blowing things around and maybe a little extra drifting in some spots, but, it’s fair to say a vast majority of the state is being affected by this storm right now.”
[Click here for NDOT 511 road conditions.]
Thomas says the patrol is discouraging travel today.
“Travel conditions are not good, even on I-80, which is probably the most traveled road in Nebraska,” according to Thomas. “So, you would think, if there would be any road which would be passable it would be Interstate 80, but we’re still seeing problems with that.”
Freezing rain and drizzle came ahead of the snow, making roadways especially slick. It appears the area near Grand Island and Kearney has turned particularly treacherous.
Thomas says heavy snow and strong winds are making roads slick and reducing visibility.
“So, driving conditions are not good throughout the state. We advise anybody who has to be out: take extra precautions, make sure people know where you’re going and the route of travel that you’re going to go, but if you don’t have to go out today, don’t. Stay home. Just stay off the road.”
Some rest areas in western Nebraska have closed with many truck drivers and motorists seeking shelter from the storm.
Troopers are on the roads, ready to help motorists in need.
If you have an emergency, call 9-1-1. If you need help, dial Star-55 on your cell phone to get the patrol help-line.
NSP issues the following reminders for motorists traveling in extreme weather conditions:
- Always wear your seat belt and never drive faster than conditions allow.
- Blowing and drifting snow can reduce visibility. Travel only when absolutely necessary.
- If you must travel, use well-traveled routes and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Let others know where you are going, your route, and when you will arrive.
- If you do become stranded while traveling, stay in your vehicle until help arrives. Wind chill and freezing temperatures can be life threatening.
- If your vehicle becomes stuck, run your motor sparingly and keep a window cracked to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide.
- Carry a red flag or bandana in your car and attach it to the outside to signal for help.
- Keep a winter weather survival kit in your vehicle as you travel.