Refreeze from heavy, wet snow turns area streets slick again; cold commute in store

Refreeze from heavy, wet snow turns area streets slick again; cold commute in store
World-Herald News Service

Crashes and slide-offs increased Sunday evening across the area area as streets turned icy with dropping temperatures and the arrival of nightfall.

Law enforcement officers in Sarpy and Douglas Counties, along with Council Bluffs, suspended taking reports for fender-benders, a reliable sign of deteriorating conditions.

As much as 6 inches of snow fell across the Omaha metro area.

Chances for additional snowfall will continue to taper off until midnight, by which time the likelihood of new snow falls to nil, according to the National Weather Service. However, that doesn’t mean that the problems are over. Untreated sidewalks, driveways and steps could be deceptively icy.

While some major roads are clear, others have tricky spots, especially some highways and state roads.

Austin Rowser, the City of Omaha’s street maintenance engineer, said crews would be working through the night to keep streets from refreezing.

Major roads had been cleared of snow and salted. Contractors and city crews would work through the night to clear and salt residential streets, he said.

Rowser said temperatures will be such that the salt should continue working, even through the night.

The low is forecast in the low 20s.

“We’re going to get temperatures where the salt is going to be just fine,” he said.

Police also urged people to take care as they approached intersections because the snow clung to and obscured north-facing traffic lights.

Monday morning commuters will awaken to cold weather, but no new snow. Temperatures aren’t expected to rise much during the day: The high is forecast in the mid-20s.

Scattered power outages were reported Saturday night and Sunday. At one point, nearly 1,000 customers of the Omaha Public Power District were without power Sunday morning. By midafternoon, that number was down to about 100.

The weather caused some Sunday activities to be canceled and other plans to be altered. The Omaha Public Schools canceled all activities occurring at OPS schools, including those scheduled by community organizations.

Other activities went on as planned, including the Holiday Lights Family Festival in downtown Omaha.

While most subscribers of the Omaha World-Herald received their newspaper on Sunday, some customers did not.  Subscribers who did not get a paper on Sunday should expect to receive one with their Monday paper.  If you have any concern about delivery, call The World-Herald circulation department at 402-346-3363

Elsewhere in Nebraska, there were some slick roads around the Grand Island area, the State Patrol reported Sunday morning. Interstate 80 had some icy patches and rural roads were mostly ice-covered, the patrol said.

Around noon on Sunday, the patrol reported that troopers had handled more 200 weather-related incidents, including 152 motorist assists, since the storm started.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation advised motorists to watch for snow-covered roads Sunday. Motorists can check the most current road conditions by visiting and tuning into NOAA weather radio.

Rain began changing to snow in the Omaha area about 7 p.m. Saturday, with some locations reporting a rain-snow mix. As temperatures dropped, the snow began to mount, often varying by neighborhood.

Benson, for example, had received 5½ inches of snow by 8 a.m. Sunday. Some areas of Bellevue and Ralston reported 5½ to 6 inches. On social media, some area residents were estimating that they were shoveling as many as 8 inches of snow off their driveways.

As much as 14 inches fell in Cherry County, in far north-central Nebraska, according to reports submitted to the weather service. Dixon County in northeast Nebraska received 10 inches of snow by Sunday morning, and the town of Little Sioux, Iowa, reported 7½ inches, Gross said.