Gov. Pete Ricketts this morning issued an emergency declaration to allow state funds to be used for the response to the blizzard paralyzing much of Nebraska.
“Hundreds of motorists have been stranded and power outages are reported in many communities,” Gov. Ricketts said in a written statement released by his office. “This declaration allows state funds from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to help our communities in their response.”
The governor’s office reports the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is working to get a temporary communications tower to Region 26 up, after 60 mph winds toppled its dispatch tower. The loss of communication affects Blaine, Garfield, Greeley, Loup, Sherman, Thomas, Valley, and Wheeler Counties.
Shelters for stranded motorists have been opened in Big Springs and Sidney after roads were closed throughout western Nebraska, including Interstate 80 and U.S. Highways 30 and 20.
“Road conditions are still not safe across the state and travel is not recommended,” said NEMA Assistant Director Bryan Tuma said in a written statement. “Stay home and be safe.”
Road conditions remain poor to impassible in many parts of central to western Nebraska. I-80 remains closed to westbound traffic from Grand Island to the Wyoming state line. Eastbound I-80 is closed from the Wyoming state line to Ogallala.
Keep up-to-date on other road closures by calling 511, visiting 511.Nebraska.gov, or by downloading the 511 smartphone app.