Multiple vehicles crash on Highway 30 in dust storm west of North Platte
HERSHEY - A section of Highway 30 west of North Platte was closed Thursday afternoon due to a multiple-vehicle accident during a dust storm.
Both lanes of the highway were closed at 4:26 p.m. CDT from Sutherland to five miles west of North Platte. A video submitted to News Channel Nebraska by a semi-tractor-trailer driver showed several vehicles wrecked on the highway with numerous other vehicles stopped on the road.
The Nebraska State Patrol says 11 vehicles were involved in the crash and only minor injuries were reported. The highway was closed for about two hours during cleanup.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation reported zero visibility due to blowing dust from high winds during the time of the accident. The National Weather Service office in North Platte issued a dust storm warning until 5 p.m. Thursday.
At 4:26 p.m., trained weather spotters saw a wall of dust along a line extending from near North Platte Airport to Wellfleet to near Palisade, moving east at 60 mph. The wall of dust advanced to a line extending from near Maxwell to seven miles east of Wellfleet to 7 miles north of Culbertson at 4:37 p.m.
According to the weather service, there's no safe place on a highway when a dust storm hits. Visibility can be lost immediately, making it difficult or impossible to slow down and avoid stopped vehicles. Delay travel, or safely exit the highway before the dust storm arrives. They called the event "dangerous life-threatening travel."
A high wind warning remained in effect until 9 p.m. CDT for the North Platte area. Wind gusts were expected to reach 60 mph.
The high wind event was behind a storm system that created severe storms in central and eastern Nebraska.