The second act of our latest bout with winter is closing or delaying school on Wednesday in a number of heartland districts. Click here for the latest list.
The snow brought traffic to a crawl in the metro as it began rolling into town late Tuesday morning. As the pace of the snow picked up, the pace of the traffic slowed down.
City snow crews told us that while they hadn’t seen any surprises, the slower pace of traffic was also going to slow down their drivers.
They have a lot of ground to cover. If you drove from New York City to San Francisco and then to Omaha, you would cover the same distance that city crews are dealing with in terms of lane mileage.
Austin Rowser was second in command of the City of Omaha's snow plan Tuesday and he explained that the first phase involved a primer of brine on the roads and then came the job of clearing the pavement for the evening rush.
“Every neighborhood is going to have some kind of collector that is going to go through it,” he said. “Then you have some major arterials. So as long as we can get you, get you to a collector, that gets you to a major arterial and gets you to where you need to go. That is our top priority."
Thanks to GPS tracking, real-time information is relayed back to headquarters.
Rowser said, "We have to take the best advice that we can get and adjust our plan accordingly. With a later arriving snow, a later accumulating snow, we just adjust that to match what the storm is doing."
As the city crews were pushing ahead, WOWT 6 News made the drive to some area schools around dismissal time. We found some cars having trouble making it up the hill to Westbrook Elementary.
The kids couldn't wait to run out into the snowfall but some of the parents picking them up had been hoping for a snow day.
Anna Perez said, “I think they should have considered us as parents to just be at home with our kids and have fun. They do need a break once in a while and we needed a break with this snow."
Melissa Ford told us, "It's a little rough. It's windy and snowy and it makes for a rough pick-up."
Around 6 p.m., there was a rollover crash on the JFK, just north of Cornhusker.
The streets were packed in La Vista on Tuesday afternoon. Many people were heading home in the midst of the snowfall but Brady Small was just gearing up for a busy day of work. He’s a snow plow truck driver for La Vista and he gave our crew a ride for a firsthand look at the job.
Small started work at noon and will go until midnight, then the next shift will begin. Their main goal is to stay head of the storm and keep the roads as clear as possible but a storm like this can be tricky.
Brady said, “With this one, the amount of traffic and time of day, it's actually snowing caused it to be slick. It's been slow going and difficult maneuvering around all the cars.
“Just mainly traffic is our biggest concern. We have to try and predict what they're going to do next because they are unsure what we're doing.”
That’s all part of the job though and it's an important one.
Brady said his goal is, “just make sure that the streets are safe and everybody gets home safely.”
Southeastern Nebraska is expected to get hit the hardest those we spoke to in Auburn on Tuesday said they were up for the challenge.
Shopkeepers quickly shoveled the snow-covered sidewalks vowing to stay open for as long as possible. We saw Union Bank Manager Mark Kubik putting down salt and he told us people are taking extra precautions.
“People are preparing with this storm a little bit more than normal,” he said. “Schools are letting out, and so there's a little more caution. There's probably less milk in the grocery stores than normal."
We saw snow plows out early in the snow on Highway 75. Road conditions only get worse if you're headed south of the metro.
If you’re traveling, do some planning. The metro isn’t the only are where it’s snowing and some places are being hit harder.
Omaha’s Eppley Airfield had seen two departing flights and two arriving flights canceled by Tuesday evening so if you’re heading somewhere by air, it's a good idea to call before you leave for the airport to check the status of your flight.
Out on the interstate, drivers were squaring off with more wind as the snow fell. That cut down on visibility and made travel dangerous in spots. The conditions of the highways might just depend on which direction you're traveling.
Motorist Harold Patel told us, “We saw like really bad accidents on the streets, like the cars and trucks just sliding away from the road to the side. They got cops and everything. All I can do is just hope it gets better."
Grant Robinson found better conditions. “The roads have been pretty good,” he said. “I'm from Minnesota and I slow down and I give everybody a lot of room to go where they need to go. The roads have been fine so far."
If you want to get an idea of what road conditions are like in your area, pull over, grab your cell phone and call 511. That will hook you up to the Nebraska Department of Roads current travel conditions. You can
click here to view that online.
While the dry ground is in need of moisture, this snow can't hurt but it's not going to fix things. It's a dry snow, with little moisture content.