Blizzard conditions engulfed western Nebraska Friday into Saturday, making travel nearly impossible, and forcing the closing of Interstate 80 from Kearney westward.
As the spring snow storm roared into the state, the Nebraska State Patrol and the Nebraska Department of Transportation warned motorists against travel and slowly, but surely began closing the interstate, first near the Wyoming border, then at North Platte, finally at Kearney; a total of about 270 miles. Those cars and trucks caught in the blizzard conditions became stuck and abandoned all along western I-80.
The storm system continues to move east, though the Lincoln and Omaha areas have experienced only light rain with hail reported in southern and eastern Omaha. Eastern Nebraska could see some snow later today, but it is expected to be light.
It appears the Kimball area in western Nebraska has been hit the hardest by the storm. The Nebraska State Patrol reports troopers focused their energies Friday night near the Interstate 80/76 interchange at Big Springs. Around 30 vehicles were involved in one accident between Sidney and Kimball on I-80. Roads throughout western Nebraska are closed.
The patrol advises motorists who become stranded to punch *55 on their cell phones.
National Weather Service forecasters predict as much as eight inches of snow will fall in the North Platte area, up to 15 inches of snow cold fall in extreme northern Nebraska, around Valentine, to northeastern Nebraska. Forecasters do believe conditions will rapidly improve once the snow stops.
Click here for road conditions from the Nebraska Department of Transportation.