Blizzard Warnings Threaten Christmas Day Travelers in Central Plains
Blizzard warnings have been issued across the Central Plains, threatening Christmas Day travelers with delays and dangerous road conditions.
Storm Expected to Bring Heavy Snow and Dangerous Road Conditions
The National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings for more than 1.1 million people in Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. The storm is expected to bring heavy snow, freezing rain, and strong winds to the region through Tuesday. Travel disruptions are likely, and there is a risk of whiteout conditions.
In the Northern Plains, heavy snowfall is expected with additional accumulation predicted in parts of western South Dakota. Ice storm warnings are also in effect for eastern areas of the Dakotas and western Minnesota.
Significant ice accumulations are anticipated in the eastern Dakotas and northern Minnesota, leading to power outages and tree damage. These warnings, watches, and advisories remain in place as of Monday afternoon.
Preparations and Warnings in Nebraska
Street maintenance workers and snowplows were deployed early in Omaha, Nebraska, to tackle the incoming winter storm. The city was under a blizzard warning and expected to receive significant snow and ice accumulations, along with gusty winds. Full street maintenance staff and contractors were on standby for plowing and salting.
The Nebraska State Department of Transportation warned against traveling due to rapidly deteriorating road conditions. The Nebraska State Patrol also advised against travel and reported road closures on Eastbound Interstate 80.
Travelers were urged to check the Nebraska Department of Transportation's website for updates before embarking on their journey.
Impacts on South Dakota and Flight Disruptions
Blizzard warnings were also in effect for much of South Dakota, where up to 11 inches of snowfall was expected. The South Dakota Highway Patrol responded to multiple crashes caused by icy roads and urged drivers to be cautious.
The winter storm system is likely to affect flights in the region. Airports such as Eppley Airfield in Omaha and Sioux Falls Regional Airport advised travelers to stay updated on their flight status due to potential delays and cancellations.
The storm is expected to gradually weaken by Tuesday night but could still bring wintry mix and rainfall to portions of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest. As it moves into the Northeast, cities like Washington, DC, New York, and Philadelphia may experience excessive rainfall on Wednesday.