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NDOT Advises Caution Ahead of Thursday Snowstorm

NDOT Advises Caution Ahead of Thursday Snowstorm
Courtesy/ Nebraska Dept. of Transportation. Snowplow.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation crews are prepared for a spring snowstorm, which looks to impact western Nebraska late Wednesday night and into the early morning hours on Friday.

Forecasts call for blizzard conditions in western Nebraska with snow and high winds.  The high winds, up to or even greater than 55 mph in some parts of the state, will have significant impact on visibility and high profile vehicles.  Workers and equipment will be out to clear the highways and monitor changing conditions throughout the storm, which is expected to impact travel late Wednesday and Thursday.

“Nebraska has experienced a relatively mild winter, a relief after last year’s record snowfall.  However, this latest storm is likely to have significant impact on a major portion of our state,” said NDOT Director Kyle Schneweis.  “With the forecasted snowfall totals, coupled with high winds, we urge against all unnecessary travel in the blizzard-affected areas.  Drivers are encouraged to be informed about weather and road conditions before making the decision to travel.  Our crews will be out working to clear roadways as conditions allow in a potential blizzard.  If you must travel during this winter storm, know before you go by checking 511.nebraska.gov and plows.nebraska.gov for road conditions and closures, and always travel well-established routes.  We continue to thank you all for helping us keep the roadways clear.”

Travelers are advised to be alert, be aware and check the most up-to-date travel conditions available through 511, Nebraska’s Advanced Traveler Information System.  The system is available at all times online at 511.nebraska.gov, Nebraska 511’s smartphone app or by dialing 511.  Travelers are also encouraged to utilize NDOT’s Plow Tracker where the public will be able to observe road conditions in real time from the cabs of NDOT snowplows.  Please note that weather conditions are often worse than they appear on camera.

Should travel be absolutely necessary, NDOT reminds motorists to be prepared with warm clothing, water and food.  Be sure to travel on well-established routes and notify someone when you are leaving
for your destination.  If traveling a distance, a winter weather survival kit is advised with additional basic items.  Travelers are advised to not drive faster than conditions allow.  Surfaces will be slick under the snow and visibility may be poor.  Allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination.

With snowplows out on the roads, travelers are urged to be cautious and courteous to those operating
them, making sure to:

  • Slow down as you approach plows.  They travel slowly, usually 25-30 miles per hour or less.
  • Stay well behind plows to give you and them plenty of room.  When traveling outside of a
    business or residential district, it is unlawful to follow a highway maintenance vehicle (snowplow,
    truck or grader) more closely than 100 feet when it is plowing snow, spreading salt or sand, or
    displaying a flashing amber or blue light.
  • Never pass a plow on the right – snowplows are equipped with “wing plows” which extend beyond
    the truck itself.
  • Know where plows are and actions they may be taking while they plow snow.

Motorists are reminded to make sure everyone in their vehicle wears a seat belt and children are in a car safety seat.  Do not use cruise control in wet or snowy weather and keep a full gas tank.

For safe-driving tips and winter weather information, visit NDOT’s website.

As a reminder, the Nebraska State Patrol Highway Helpline is available 24 hours per day for motorists in need of assistance.  Drivers can reach NSP by dialing *55 from any cell phone.  Call 911 for any emergency.

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