The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for the entire broadcast area until 6pm on Sunday. The storm system will create treacherous travel conditions with winds expected at 40 to 50 miles per hour along with blowing and drifting snow.
Already areas to the southwest in Nebraska have had to endure the wrath of the storm. Blizzard conditions in south-central to southeastern Nebraska have led to several crashes and prompted officials to close a 120-mile stretch of Interstate 80 in the state. The Nebraska State Patrol says I-80 has been closed in both directions from Grand Island to Gretna, just southwest of Omaha. The patrol says troopers and first responders are dealing with several crashes along that stretch of interstate, including a pileup of dozens of semitrailers and vehicles near Waverly just east of Lincoln.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for a swath that stretches from south-central Nebraska over the southeastern corner into western and upper Iowa. Cities within the warning area include Omaha, Lincoln, Omaha, Seward, Plattsmouth, Nebraska City, Beatrice and Falls City. Those areas could see up to 10 inches of snow. Surrounding areas are under a winter weather advisory.
Here in the broadcast area the forecast calls for accumulations between 8 inches to a foot of new snow. The National Weather Service is saying, “The axis of heaviest snow is expected to fall from Denison and Carroll north and east through Fort Dodge, Algona and Mason City where eight to twelve inches may fall. One to three tiers of counties either side of these areas confidence is lower due to a sharp gradient in expected snowfall where amounts could potentially vary one to four inches just across one county.”
What is of greatest concern are the wind gusts. Wind speeds between 35 to 50 miles per hour are anticipated later tonight into Sunday, producing widespread blowing and drifting snow along with blizzard like conditions. The winds will continue to create these conditions well after the snowfall has actually ended making travel extremely dangerous, if not impossible.
Emergency preparedness officials are encouraging everyone to stay indoors until the storm passes to minimize the risk for both yourself and emergency personnel.