Blizzard-like Conditions in Eastern Nebraska

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Northwest winds up to 40 mph are creating blizzard-like conditions in parts of eastern Nebraska Wednesday.

Temperatures in the double digits feel more like zero. The high winds and cold have prompted many schools to call off classes, from Rising City south of Columbus to Omaha.

Up to 10 inches of snow fell in Lincoln Tuesday and other cities in the east report from half-an-inch to six inches. Extended Web Coverage

Winter Weather Safety Tips

What to listen for:

  • Winter Storm Watch: Severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and / or ice, are possible within the next day or two. Prepare now.

  • Winter Storm Warning: Severe winter conditions have begun or are about to begin in your area. Stay indoors!

  • Blizzard Warning: Snow and strong winds will combine to produce a blinding snow (near zero visibility), deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill. Seek refuge immediately!

  • Winter Weather Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. The greatest hazard is often to motorists.

  • Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause significant damage to plants, crops and trees.

Be prepared before the storm hits, if at home:

  • Primary concerns are the potential loss of heat, power, telephone service, and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day. Have available:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information. These may be your only links to the outside.
  • Extra food and water. High-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best.
  • Extra medicine and baby items.
  • First-aid supplies.
  • Emergency heating source, such as a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc.
  • Fire extinguisher and smoke detector.

Be prepared in your car

  • Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter storm hits.
  • Blankets and / or sleeping bag.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • First-aid kit.
  • Knife.
  • High-calorie, non-perishable food.
  • Extra clothing to keep dry.
  • A large empty can and plastic cover with tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes.
  • A smaller can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water.
  • Shovel.
  • Windshield scraper and brush.
  • Tool kit.
  • Tow rope.
  • Booster cables.
  • Water container.
  • Compass and road maps.
  • Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Try not to travel alone.
  • Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.

What to do if caught in a winter storm.


  • Find shelter, try to stay dry.
  • Cover all exposed parts of the body.
  • If no shelter is found, find a way to break the wind. Such as a snow cave or location where the wind is not hitting.
  • Build a fire for heat and to attract attention, if shelter is not around. Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
  • Do NOT eat snow, it will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.

Caught in a car

  • Stay in your car. Disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven snow and cold.
    Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat.
  • Open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
  • Turn on the dome light at night when running engine.
  • Tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door.
  • Raise the hood indicating trouble after snow stops falling.

Caught at home or in a building.

  • Stay inside. When using ALTERNATIVE HEAT from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc.: Use fire safeguards and properly ventilate.
  • If you have no heat source, close off unneeded rooms, stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors and cover windows at night.
  • Eat and drink. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
  • Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing.

What Makes a Winter Storm?

  • Cold Air: Below freezing temperatures in the clouds and near the ground are necessary to make snow and/or ice.
  • Moisture: To form clouds and precipitation. Air blowing across a body of water, such as a large lake or the ocean, is an excellent source of moisture.
  • Lift: Something to raise the moist air to form the clouds and cause precipitation. An example of lift is warm air colliding with cold air and being forced to rise over the cold dome. The boundary between the warm and cold air masses is called a front. Another example of lift is air flowing up a mountain side.

Winter storms are sometimes called “Deceptive Killers.”

  • Most winter storm deaths are “indirectly” related to the storm, such as, traffic accidents and hypothermia.
  • 70 percent of snow storm deaths occur in automobiles.

Source: A compilation of Web reports contributed to this report.