OMAHA – While projected snowfall totals continue to fluctuate in advance of a winter storm, it’s likely that most of the region will experience rain turning into ice late Wednesday evening into Thursday morning that could bring dangerously slick roadways and other concerns.
Flash Freezing will occur with the incoming winter system. Any ponding of water on roadways or walkways will quickly turn to ice as temperatures are expected to suddenly plummet as the cold front arrives. Temperatures have moderated over the past few days which has allowed for melting of previous snowfall, but with rain preceding the winter storm, forecasters warn the rainfall will quickly freeze and make travel difficult as much colder air and strong winds batter the region before snow begins to fall.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Smith says some areas—most likely north of Omaha—will see half a foot of snow with white-out conditions on several major highways due to winds gusting up to 45 mph.
In addition, livestock or any outdoor animals exposed to the rain will chill quickly as wind chills fall to the single digits by 6 a.m. Thursday.
The Nebraska Department or Transportation is geared up in anticipation for the arrival of the storm. NDOT Communications Staffer Jeni Campana says they will need to time out when to apply treatment to the roads, in order for it to be most effective.
‘We use a combination of different materials that we put on the road, and we look at what the road conditions are and what the temperatures are going to be. So that varies, but we are very specific in what we do and when we want to apply it. If you apply treatment to early, then it’ll just wash of the road with the anticipated rain that’s coming in,” says Campana.
Campana says they have a plethora of resources and technology to help them determine when to best being treating roads, and says their is one main difference in this storm, compared to others that have come through this winter.
“The difference is the storm is really large, and the track is really unknown, so we don’t know where the snowfall is going to hit,” says Campana.
Campana says motorists will need to be extremely cautious when determine when, where, and if they should be traveling on Wednesday night and into Thursday.