LEXINGTON — Both Interstate 80 and Highway 30 were closed on Monday due to hazardous travel conditions created by blowing snow. Most of Central Nebraska was impacted by a winter storm over the weekend making post-Christmas travel difficult, if not impossible.
National Weather Service Hastings lead meteorologist Cindy Fay said a potent low pressure system moved out of the Rockies on Friday, Dec. 27 and ahead of the system central parts of the state received rain, which transitioned to a wintry mix of ice.
As cold air was drawn into the back side of the low pressure system, precipitation again transitioned to snow. Fay said the heaviest snow band fell along a line from Minden to Kearney to Greeley. This area saw snow fall as high as 12 inches.
Snow fell from the evening of Saturday, Dec. 28 into the daylight hours of Sunday, Dec. 29.
The Dawson County area, including Lexington saw around 4 to 6 inches with this system, while one area northwest of Johnson Lake reported 9 inches, Fay said.
As the low pressure system moved out eastward, a tight pressure gradient was left in its wake, Fay said, leading to strong winds. On Saturday there were reported gusts of 40 to 45 mph. These winds continued into Monday morning and Fay said there could be gusts up to 55 mph in some areas.
I-80 and Highway 30 were opened on Saturday with travel being difficult due to snow packed roads and high winds causing drifts on the interstate. Several semis had run off the road on Saturday afternoon, including one which had jackknifed in the westbound lane between Odessa and Elm Creek which forced traffic down to one lane.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation closed down both between Lexington and Grand Island early Monday morning due to hazardous travel conditions. Crews were working to clear both roadways, but the task was made difficult due to the continual winds drifting the snow.