‘I’ve never seen anything like this:’ Numerous accidents reported after winter storm produces blizzard conditions in central US
By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
February 26, 2019, 2:13:10 AM EST
A major winter storm tore through the Plains from Saturday into Sunday morning, dropping several inches of snow and producing whiteout conditions.
A large portion of Interstate 80 through Nebraska was closed in both directions on Saturday and Saturday night due to the extreme weather conditions.
Heavy snow accumulated up to 10 inches while very windy conditions caused near-zero visibility conditions.
Winds continue to create an impact on Nebraska’s highways this morning by causing snow to drift. This results in slick and snow covered roads. Again, please don’t drive unless absolutely necessary and check https://t.co/KD6t82hKgL before making your travel decisions. #NEroads pic.twitter.com/flxytr0NSx— Nebraska DOT (@NebraskaDOT) February 24, 2019
This storm was the second in the span of a week to bring severe winter weather to the Omaha, Nebraska, area. The 7.5 inches that fell on Saturday officially brought this season to the top of the list for the city's snowiest winters (December to February).
If an additional 0.2 of an inch of snow falls before the month's end, this would also become Omaha's snowiest February on record, according to the National Weather Service in Omaha.
Elsewhere on I-80, low visibility and poor roadway conditions led to traffic chaos.
A multi-vehicle crash was reported just east of York, Nebraska, on Saturday.
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
(Photo/Twitter user @JenGangloff)
In Kansas, a portion of I-70 was shut down through Saturday night due to the hazardous travel conditions. Law enforcement reported dozens of spin-outs and slide-offs across the state.
Major roads across Iowa and Minnesota were impassable during the height of the storm as well, according to local authorities.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a peacetime state of emergency and ordered the Minnesota National Guard to aid and provide emergency relief to stranded motorists.
In Neenah, Wisconsin, a 131-vehicle pileup on I-41 left one person dead and 71 others injured on Sunday.
Even where snow accumulation totaled just an inch or two across the Dakotas, western Minnesota and northern Nebraska, wind gusts as high as 50 mph behind the storm created white-out conditions on Saturday night.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham, conditions in the wake of this powerful storm reminded Midwesterners that winter is still holding strong.
Following the below-average temperatures and windy conditions over the weekend, a weak Alberta Clipper is expected to dive through the northern Plains and Midwest at midweek, he said. The snowfall it brings will add onto what has already been a record-breaking snowy winter for many.
Troopers on the road report that there are still people attempting to travel in this blizzard.— NEStatePatrol (@NEStatePatrol) February 24, 2019
One just said, "I've never seen anything like this."
Please stop. Wait it out. I-80 is still CLOSED from West Omaha to Grand Island. pic.twitter.com/ZUKemOHDej
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