Nebraska State Patrol urges caution while driving this holiday

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 6:33 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Millions of people are traveling to celebrate the holidays with their friends and families. At least, they want to and hope the weather doesn’t get in the way.

In Lincoln alone, a storm is brewing that could disrupt those plans, or make travel dangerous. According to AAA, over 100 million Americans are expected to travel in the next couple weeks, whether that’s by flying or driving.

Looking at a schedule from the Nebraska Weather Service, extreme winter weather travel conditions start in parts of the state Wednesday night. For southeastern Nebraska, it starts Thursday and lasts all day.

NWS- Omaha Winter Travel Conditions
NWS- Omaha Winter Travel Conditions(National Weather Service)

The Nebraska State Patrol said it’s important to pack a blanket, snacks and water in your car in case you have to stop.

“Do not leave your vehicle, don’t walk to nearest gas station,” said Sergeant Mike Thorson, Nebraska State Patrol. “With wind chills like this, it doesn’t take long for frostbite. Call *55 someone will help you. When it’s really cold troopers are out on a routine basis driving up and down interstates constantly checking for broke-down cars.”

AAA estimates that 80,000 people will be driving to their holiday celebration in the region that includes Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Individuals who are stranded, stuck or have other travel problems in the state of Nebraska can call *55. It will connect them to the State Patrol’s dispatch and they will send a trooper out to them as quickly as they can.

Across the country, air travel is expected to be up 14% over last year. For LNK, that means United often sends aircraft with more seating.

“When it is busier times of the year, we will see United upgrade that aircraft to maybe more of like the 70 or 75 seat aircraft and so you might see larger airplanes flying in and out here again to accommodate more passengers this time of year,” said Rachel Barth with LNK Airport.

Tuesday morning, United Airline was offering four separate winter weather waivers for the Midwest. That includes people flying out of Lincoln. The tickets must have been purchased by Dec. 17 with travel dates between Dec. 21 and Dec. 25.