‘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.

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)

First responders check on drivers following a multi-vehicle crash on westbound Interstate 80 near Waverly, Neb., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

A Kansas State basketball fan walks through heavy snow while leaving Bramlage Coliseum following their game against Oklahoma State in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

A couple walk on the Kansas State University campus during blizzard conditions in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.

(Nebraska DOT)

A dashcam screenshot from a Nebraska DOT snow plow on the evening of Feb. 23, 2019 in the midst of heavy, blowing snow conditions.


Equipment Operator Steven Walters helped a truck driver who rolled his semi near Belpre. Walters called the Sheriff and waited with the driver until responders could arrive on scene.

(Iowa DOT)

Screen grab of dashcam footage from an Iowa DOT snowplow amid heavy, blowing snow conditions on Feb. 23, 2019.


Heavy snow buried Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.


Heavy snow in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Snow starts to build on road signs near Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.

(Photo/Twitter user @JenGangloff)

Heavy snow accumulated in Rochester, Minnesota, on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.

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.

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