Moderate to heavy snow returns to the area Thursday

SIDNEY - Snowfall projections for parts of the Nebraska Panhandle and southeast Wyoming have increased, but there's still some uncertainty for the Wyoming side, according to the National Weather Service office in Cheyenne.

The weather service placed every county in the Panhandle and southeast Wyoming in a winter storm warning until 6 p.m. on Friday. Anywhere between 6 to 12 inches is in the forecast for places like Sidney, Kimball, Scottsbluff, Harrisburg and Bridgeport. 

WeatherEye Meteorologist Mandy Thalhuber says this storm system will pack "quite a bit of a punch," so plan wisely as you prepare for the early spring snow storm.

"We're going to have periods of these short, moderate snowfall rates," Thalhuber said. "We're talking about the possibility of an inch or two an hour with some of these waves. We know when we can get that much intensity that our travel becomes very difficult to almost possible at points."

The heaviest snow is expected Thursday evening through Friday morning, according to the weather service. The worst road impacts will be during this time, as well. Travel conditions will become dangerous due to ice, snow packed roads and low visibilities in falling snow. The NWS says if you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

Thalhuber says we won't know who will receive 12 inches of snow, who will receive 6 inches, or who gets 3-4 inches until the narrow spring snow bands begin to form later Thursday.

"You can drive three miles to the north, or three miles to the south, and it can vary greatly with these type of temperature gradients and type of storm systems," Thalhuber said. "It's just wherever it sets up, so that's why we like to give a blanket of being aware of what you're doing. We know this storm system is going to hit the area. We know there's going to be accumulating snowfall."

When the snow gets going, it's going to be falling heavily at times with the narrower snow bands, according to Thalhuber.