Degree or two reducing snow fall accumulations, Sandhills still "under the gun"

Staff Writer

The change from rain to snow did not happen as quickly as meteorologists with the National Weather Service (NWS) office in North Platte thought it might and the result is less snow in the storm for this weekend.

"A degree or two made all the difference," meteorologist Shawn Jacobs said. It was originally thought the changeover would occur during the Friday evening hours. "Most places it was around dawn (Saturday)."

There are reports of treacherous roads, however, due to the slush that is gathering on highways and roads. Butler said as of 10 a.m. Saturday (12/1/18) there have been no changes to the winter storm warning or advisories.

Snowfall forecasts have been lowered somewhat due to the higher than expected temperatures. Also, due to snow compacting and melting on the ground, measurements of the snow on the ground may not accurately reflect what actually fell.

Near Valentine, 6.5 inches of snow has been reported by mid-Saturday morning, Mullen reported 5 and Anselmo reported 4. A representative from Bassett said there was two inches there.

There will continue to be significant impact to travel.

The Hwy 20 corridor from Valentine to O'Neill should see a solid 8 to 12 inches of snow, Jacobs said. The I-80 corridor from Deuel County to Lincoln County could see about three inches (west) and as much as 6-8 (east).

Reduced visibility is not from blowing snow but from falling snow. Generally there are visibility ranges from 1/2 mile to 2 miles.

The heavy wet snow will crystallize and become much finer, Jacobs said. "It will be easier to blow around, especially in north central Nebraska." Travelers should be aware that blowing snow will be possible, especially on Sunday.

Temperatures today are expected to be in the lower to mid 30s and tomorrow in the 20s.

Heavier snow fall forecasts have shifted somewhat to the north. Though forecast totals are down, Jacobs said snow will continue to accumulate. "The Sandhills are still under the gun," he said. "North central Nebraska is still under the gun."