A winter storm packing snow and wind swept through Nebraska and Iowa Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, slowing morning commutes, closing schools and leaving portions of major highways shut down.
Nebraska roads crews have reopened eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 80 between York and Aurora due to ice, high winds, blowing snow and zero visibility, but officials are still urging motorists to use extreme caution.
The Nebraska Department of Roads says the interstate is open, but severe winter driving conditions persist. A Department of Roads spokeswoman says drivers should slow down and be aware of packed snow and icy roads.
Wednesday morning, a westbound stretch of Interstate 80 near Lincoln was reopened after jackknifed semitrailers were cleared off the road.
One semi driver from Las Vegas lost control on westbound I-80 near the old Gretna outlet mall. The rig ended up down an embankment and crashed through a barbed wire fence. The driver was okay and removed belongings from the truck that will likely be there for a while. Conditions need to improve before a large tow truck can be brought in.
“He says his steer tires lost control and he tried to correct it and the trailer swung around and he jackknifed and it slid him down into the ditch,” said Nebraska State Patrol Trooper Paul Jacobson. “This guy here was behind him and saw the whole thing happen and he slid trying to avoid this one.”
Highway 6 was closed at Milford east to the Highway 103 junction, but it has been reopened.
Transportation officials reported significant slowdowns and backups in central and eastern Iowa as crashes and jackknifed trucks blocked roads.