CUSTER COUNTY—Blue skies and a balmy 50 degrees quickly melted some of the central Nebraska snow—just in time for Winter Storm Jaxon to leave its mark January 21-22.
Blizzard warnings came into effect over the weekend for much of the state, with some communities seeing as much as 18 inches of fresh powder and wind gusts around 40 miles per hour. Gusts of 54 MPH were reported near Ainsworth.
Low visibility and drifting snow made travel extremely difficult, prompting the Nebraska Department of Transportation to declare many major roads “impassable.” Local law enforcement and city officials encouraged residents to stay at home.
The storm system arrived in Custer County a bit later than expected but surrounding communities saw between eight to twelve inches of snow and massive snow drifts. The slow moving storm resulted in media outlets reporting copious postponements and cancellations.
The Nebraska State Patrol reported a vehicle accident resulting in two fatalities in Kimball County. The accident occurred on Highway 71 on Monday, January 22. Dozens of other crashes were reported with two Interstate 80 accidents resulting in multiple-car pileups.
Stranded vehicles became the norm and Custer County Sheriff Dan Osmond said deputies responded to seven calls as a result of the storm, but reported no accidents.
He encourages residents to “use a little more caution” during future winter storms, especially when notice is given of a major storm’s estimated arrival.
Custer Public Power District responded to power outages in Oconto and Mason City but quickly made the necessary repairs.
City crews and individuals worked to dig their way out of the snow, but had some fun along the way.