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NDOT & NSP urge caution during holiday travel, storms likely

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Posted at 3:59 PM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 17:08:51-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Over the next few days, crews with the Nebraska Department of Transportation and the Nebraska State Patrol want to urge people to take caution as a round of winter weather is expected to impact portions of the state.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation's release:

This week has the potential to bring three winter storm systems through the state, along with the likelihood of challenging conditions for Thanksgiving holiday travelers.

This Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) crews are prepared for the latest round of winter weather, which would impact most of the state and good portions of the country. While the forecast could fluctuate, concerns are highest with heavy snowfall coupled with high winds creating low visibility. Workers and equipment will be out to clear the highways and monitor changing conditions throughout the holiday weekend, which looks to affect travel Tuesday through Wednesday and again on Thanksgiving Day and through the weekend.

The first storm is expected to strike Tuesday and will impact travel on I-80 as well as the rest of Nebraska’s highways. Motorists should expect travel conditions to deteriorate, including slushy and ice‑covered roads, while significant snow falls across regions of Nebraska. High winds coupled with heavy snowfall will result in reduced visibility.

“This latest wave of storms looks to have significant impact on a majority of the state,” said NDOT Director Kyle Schneweis. “This is the first major storm of the season and it is anticipated to be a significant one during one of the highest travel times of the year. Drivers are encouraged to be informed about weather and road conditions before making the decision to travel. We urge caution if you must travel during this winter storm and know before you go.”

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 via phone by, online at dot.nebraska.gov [dot.nebraska.gov], Nebraska 511’s smartphone app or by dialing 511.

Nebraska State Patrol's release:

The Nebraska State Patrol is urging motorists to be prepared for a winter storm that is projected to affect most of the state over the next two days.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Nebraska counties throughout western, central, and northern Nebraska, which will take affect at 9:00 p.m. Monday. Heavy snow and strong winds are expected to create hazardous travel conditions for significant portions of Interstate 80 and many other Nebraska roadways.

“Thanksgiving week is a major travel period and this strong winter storm has the potential to make travel difficult,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Drivers should plan ahead and adjust plans accordingly to make sure they reach their destinations safely.”

Motorists are encouraged to stay up to date on conditions and plan ahead as travel may become difficult or impossible in some areas. Nebraska 511 [511.nebraska.gov] is the best resource to monitor road conditions and closures. Motorists can also view real time conditions with the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s Plow Tracker system [plows.nebraska.gov]. NSP will provide updates on social media as well.

Troopers will be on the road to assist motorists who need help. Anyone in need of assistance can call *55 from a cell phone or 800-525-5555 to reach the NSP Highway Helpline. NSP also issues the following reminders for motorists traveling in extreme weather conditions:

· Always wear your seat belt and never drive faster than conditions allow.

· Blowing and drifting snow can reduce visibility. Travel only when necessary.

· If you must travel, use well-traveled routes and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Tell others your destination, your route, and when you will arrive.

· If you become stranded while traveling, stay in your vehicle until help arrives. Have a red flag or bandana to signal for help. Freezing temperatures can be life threatening.

· If your vehicle becomes stuck, run your motor sparingly and keep a window cracked to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide.

· Maintain a winter weather survival kit in your vehicle.