LINCOLN – Nearly every roadway in the state of Nebraska, southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri was either partially covered or fully covered by snow and blowing snow at 8 a.m. Sunday, making travel nearly impossible across the region.
The only exception is northeast Nebraska, where there are normal travel conditions.
Portions of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri saw whiteout conditions overnight and into Sunday morning due to a strong winter storm that’s bringing widespread snow.
The National Weather Service office in Omaha/Valley issued a blizzard warning Saturday afternoon for south-central and southeastern Nebraska, southwest Iowa, and northwest Missouri. The warning is in effect until 6 p.m. Sunday.
Omaha and most of the area north of Interstate 80 was still under a winter weather advisory Sunday morning. Two inches of snow is in the forecast for this region.
Meteorologists say the heaviest snow is expected to be in southeast Nebraska, southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri where 8 to 12 inches could fall in towns such as Nebraska City, Falls City, Beatrice and Red Oak. Lincoln is expecting four to six inches.
All advisories and warnings in the panhandle have been cancelled.
Winds of 25 to 40 mph are making driving conditions “pretty bad” regardless of the snowfall amounts, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Dergan.
Interstate 80 westbound at mile marker 426 (Mahoney) has been closed due to multiple crashes.
“If you’re heading east toward Des Moines, or south toward Kansas City, or southwest toward Lincoln on Sunday morning, that’s bad,” Dergan said. “Maybe delay it a while.”
Road crews were out along I-80 clearing the roadway and checking travel conditions near Kearney, where the blizzard warning was downgraded to a winter weather advisory.
Nebraska State Troopers are on the road across the state today to assist motorists. They report some black ice in addition to the snow and wind. Officials advise it’s a “good idea to stay home today if possible, but call *55 to reach NSP if you need help on the roads.”
Weather officials expect dangerous travel conditions today with roads becoming snowy and ice packed due to blowing snow and blizzard conditions. They’re also monitoring possible power outages.
The Thayer County Sheriff’s office was warning drivers not to attempt to travel. Roads in the area are completely covered in snow and blowing snow. They say the dangerous conditions have made it impossible for road crews to be out. Officials say if you get stranded, emergency personnel may not be able to get to you quickly, if at all. Stay in your vehicle if you do become stuck.
Several churches across the area have cancelled services and other activities.
Snow is forecast to end in southeast Nebraska this morning, while ending in southwest Iowa by early afternoon. Blowing and drifting snow will linger through the day.
“That’s when the winds will be pretty strong as well, so even though you don’t have falling snow, you might have some blowing snow,” Dergan said.
Temperatures will fall 24 degrees by 5 p.m.
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World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.