Winter isn’t going anywhere soon.
Colder than normal weather — and perhaps more snow than usual — is forecast into early February by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center, the nation’s long-term weather forecaster.
Translation: Don’t be surprised that a chance of snow returns to the forecast later this week.
In the meantime, Wednesday is expected to be the nicest day of the week: mostly sunny with southwest winds that usher in a quick warm up. Highs on Wednesday could top out in the upper 20s.
But after that, Arctic air returns, along with biting winds. Thursday is expected to see steadily dropping temperatures and wind chills again below zero.
Several schools across the region have had two snow consecutive snow days — Tuesday and Wednesday, and snow fall totals are running well ahead of normal for the month and year.
Tuesday’s snow fouled traffic and led to numerous crashes. Some businesses and local agencies closed early.
Local police issued several pleas on Twitter for drivers to take it easy. The Nebraska State Patrol worked 60-plus weather-related incidents in southern and eastern Nebraska. Among the crashes was a jack-knifed semitrailer truck that caused a prolonged lane closure along Interstate 80 near Chalco.
Through Tuesday afternoon, Omaha has received 17.7 inches of snow since that first, mid-October snowfall. That places the city 4.5 inches ahead of normal.
For the month, Omaha had received 7.8 inches of snow through late Tuesday afternoon, which is 3.6 inches ahead of normal.
In spite of the high snow totals, the area is experiencing an average winter, based on the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index, which looks at both temperature and snowfall.
Omaha received more than 3 inches of snow Tuesday, based on readings at Eppley Airfield. Mayor Jean Stothert said the city’s fleet of private contractors were to begin plowing residential streets at midnight.