Early spring snow storm closes interstates, highways
SIDNEY - Two main road arteries in the southern Nebraska Panhandle closed Saturday afternoon due to winter weather conditions.
Interstate 80 closed in both directions, from Big Springs to Rock Springs, Wyo., at 2:45 p.m. and Highway 30 closed in both directions at 3 p.m. I-80 and Hwy. 30 was reopen west of Cheyenne early Sunday morning.
Westbound I-80 and Highway 30 was closed from Kearney to I-76 Junction as of 5:30 a.m. Sunday.
Cheyenne County Sheriff Adam Frerichs says the Nebraska Department of Transportation wants to keep I-80 open as long as they can, because of it being a main artery throughout the state, but at some point in time human life becomes more important.
"Based on a pretty good sized accident that took place at the junction of I-76 and I-80 and the deteriorating road conditions, the state of Nebraska has made the decision to go ahead and close both I-80 and Hwy. 30 for people's safety," Frerichs said.
In Colorado, Interstate 76 eastbound was closed from Sterling to Nebraska. Highway 138 from Sterling to Nebraska was also closed.
Roads reopened at 12:15 p.m. Sunday.
A winter storm warning remained in effect until 6 a.m. Sunday for Cheyenne, Deuel, Garden, and Keith Counties. Four to eight inches of snow was anticipated for Sidney, Ogallala, Chappell, and Oshkosh with winds gusting as high as 45 mph.
Frerichs advised people not to travel through Saturday night.
"Visibility conditions right now, due to the falling and blowing snow, are basically pretty terrible in some areas," Frerichs said. "In some areas, speaking with my deputies, they can barely see over the hood of their car. The roads, obviously, are starting to become snow-packed and icy. If you have to travel, please be careful. Our advisement right now is to just hunker down at home, stay warm, and stay safe. There's no sense in venturing out into this right now."
Frerichs says county roads remained open in Cheyenne County as of 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
"It doesn't sound like the north and south roads, like Hwy. 385 and Hwy. 19, are being affected as badly as the east and west roads, but it's just going to be kind of a 'wait-and-see' right now to see how long this storm bears down on us," Frerichs said.
Kimball and Banner Counties, along with counties in southeast Wyoming, were removed from the winter weather advisory. A winter weather advisory remained in place Saturday afternoon for Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Box Butte, Dawes, Sioux, Logan, and Sedgwick Counties.
According to the National Weather Service office in Cheyenne, there's a chance of snow every day through Monday night. Temperatures rebound to the lower 40s with sunshine on Tuesday.
Significant weather updates on 987 The Big Boy and Cheyenne County Country are brought to you by American Family Insurance, Van Kitt agent, in Sidney.