One person dies in crash on I-80

One person dies in crash on I-80
World-Herald News Service

The Nebraska State Patrol closed eastbound Interstate 80 near Greenwood about 8 a.m. Monday for a one-vehicle crash that left one person dead. It reopened about 11:45 a.m.

Troopers said refreezing along I-80 was causing many problems between Omaha and Lincoln.

Motorists were being rerouted to U.S. Highway 6 and then back onto I-80 at mile marker 420. 

In central Iowa, officials reopened southbound Interstate 35 from the Minnesota border at noon. Northbound I-35 remained closed at Ames, but officials hope to reopen it Monday afternoon.

In Omaha, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge was closed Monday.

On the snow front, the 7.5 to 10 inches of new snow that fell around the metro area this weekend allowed Omaha to match its record for snowfall during the winter months of December through February.

Officially, Omaha received 7.5 inches of snow over the weekend. Some neighborhoods, however, recorded as much as 10 inches.

With some neighborhood streets still difficult to travel Sunday night, the Omaha Public Schools and most other metro area districts announced that they would cancel classes on Monday.

About 18,000 of OPS’s 53,000 students travel by bus, and the district wasn’t confident that its kids could get to school in a timely, safe fashion, said OPS spokeswoman Monique Farmer.

Trash pickup was canceled Monday in Council Bluffs because of the accumulated snow. It will resume Tuesday in the Bluffs and will be a day behind for the rest of the week.

The city has said it will be Tuesday at the earliest before crews begin tackling those long rows of snow in the middle of major thoroughfares. City crews have been plowing snow to the middle to aid in clearing a driving lane. Affected streets include Dodge from downtown to Happy Hollow, other downtown streets and Maple Street in Benson.

The weekend storm was nastier than the area’s other recent heavy snowfalls.

Randy Adkins, meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc., The World-Herald’s weather consultant, said the storm was able to tap into some of the power in the jet stream. When that happens, a storm is able to ramp up with much greater ferocity. And while some storms don’t strengthen until they cross the Rockies into the Plains, this one was strong as soon as it slammed into the California coast, he said. That’s one reason forecasters were able to warn of blizzard conditions so early.

In addition to the blizzard conditions from Nebraska across Iowa and into Minnesota and Wisconsin, the storm spun out tornadoes and flooding rains in the Southeast.

The effects of Sunday’s storm reverberated across the region. Blizzard conditions continued to prevail across much of Iowa on Sunday because of strong winds whipping up snow that had fallen earlier in the weekend.

The storm closed Interstates across the region. Parts of a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 80 were closed in Nebraska over the weekend because of numerous crashes, including a major pileup near York that involved about 30 vehicles, said Cody Thomas, spokesman for the Nebraska State Patrol.

Two firefighters from the Waco Volunteer Fire Department remained hospitalized Sunday after their ambulance was struck by a semitrailer truck in the pileup near York.

“They are stable and things are looking up,” the Waco Volunteer Fire Department posted on its Facebook page. Four others in the ambulance were less seriously hurt.

While conditions improved noticeably on Sunday once the wind died down, the storm continued to have an effect, albeit in some odd ways:

» The inflated dome of a UNO recreation center collapsed Saturday night. A spokesman for the University of Nebraska at Omaha said officials didn’t know if weather was a factor in the collapse of the Center Dome at 68th and Spring Streets. But he said it was possible. Crews will begin looking into options for repair Monday.

» The Nebraska State Patrol engaged in a rolling roadblock on Interstate 80 near Highway 50 in Sarpy County to help slow down traffic after several large potholes caused flat tires. The Nebraska Department of Transportation patched the potholes Sunday.