Omaha can expect 3 to 4 inches of snow after midnight Saturday. Wind also a concern for drivers
If you’re returning from the in-laws’ or planning to shop till you drop this weekend, take heed: The Omaha area could get 3 to 4 inches of snow, plus gusty winds, starting Saturday night.
A winter storm watch is in effect Saturday night into Sunday as forecasts show a storm moving across the central Plains.
Saturday will remain almost balmy — temperatures could reach nearly 50 degrees.
But rain is expected to begin Saturday night, and temperatures will drop.
Starting around midnight in the Omaha area, that cold rain is expected to turn to snow, said Bryon Miller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley.
The snow could continue into Sunday morning and throughout most of the day, he said, but should stop well before the Monday morning commute.
Three to 4 inches could accumulate in Lincoln and Omaha.
John Feerick, senior meteorologist with World-Herald weather consultant AccuWeather, said Omaha and Lincoln might get up to 6 inches. Much of southwest Iowa can expect similar amounts, Feerick said, about 3 to 6 inches.
Locations in eastern Nebraska could get anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of snow, Miller said.
One big worry is that high winds could lead to blowing snow and poor visibility for drivers.
The heaviest band of snow is expected to hit northeast Kansas, moving across northern Missouri and southern Iowa. Other regions, like Colorado, could see light snow.
A large swath across southeast Iowa could see 6 to 8 inches of snow, said Brooke Hagenhoff, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Des Moines.
Winds could reach upward of 30 to 40 miles per hour.
“Even with varying snowfall amounts, with the blowing snow that’s going to cause a pretty big travel impact, especially with the holiday travel and people trying to return home,” she said.
Travelers should check road conditions in advance and continue to monitor the latest forecast, she said.
Traveling this weekend? Keep an eye on flights
Sunday is expected to be a busy day for air travel.
“We’re certainly watching the weather closely,” said Justin Idle, airport operations supervisor at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield.
Staff there are holding daily weather calls and will continue to check in with meteorologists at the National Weather Service.
If you’re flying this weekend, keep checking the status of your flight, and give yourself plenty of time to travel to and from the airport.
“We’re hoping it’s a minor event, but (are) preparing for the worst,” Idle said.