Snow Blasts Central Nebraska


High winds and steady snowfall combined for whiteout conditions in Nebraska. Road crews spent Tuesday gearing up knowing it's the first major winter storm of the season.

"Do you want a scone mom?"

Hot coffee and a sweet treat, that's how Jamie Sands and her mom tackled the snow.

In line at Barista's coffee house Sands said, "It's pretty nasty out but we're due for a little winter weather around here."

Nebraska has seen worse, but the timing for the first big snowfall of the season is unusual.

Grand Island Street Superintendent Shannon Callahan said, "It's a typical February snowstorm, but it's the first one this year that I'm thinking we will have to plow. It's kind of exciting, actually. I think we're ready to get out and do our normal winter routine that we haven't been doing."

Instead of plowing, Grand Island street crews have taken advantage of dry conditions to do other kinds of work.

"Getting out and cleaning ditches or working in detention cells that normally have water in them," Callahan explained.

Now they're back on more seasonal duties with a snow emergency. Callahan said the amount of accumulation is a big factor in the decision to begin plowing, but not the only one.

She said, "We also have to pay attention to how motorists are reacting and if the wind picks up, visibility, we take into consideration."

In addition to motor graders, Grand Island has multipurpose vehicles like pickups that can plow, plus contractors that go out into residential areas.

"That just helps speed up the process and give citizens a better level of service getting out to all the residential areas," Callahan said.

Jamie Sands braved 30 mile an hour wind gusts and whiteout conditions. But with her coffee in hand, she said Nebraska was due.

"Could be better, could be worse, we'll praise the Lord it's not worse," she said.

Grand Island declared a snow emergency taking effect at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday lasting until Wednesday at noon. They urge people not to park along snow routes, as they plow those through the night.