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The snow is tapering off, but bundle up — The cold is sticking around

December 29, 2018

Friday’s snow shouldn’t last into the weekend, but Omahans can expect a frigid New Year’s Eve.

Snow that glazed Omaha on Friday dwindled by the afternoon and evening, with the city receiving about a half-inch of snow throughout the day. But very chilly conditions persisted, and temperatures were expected to reach a low of about 5 degrees overnight.

Austin Rowser, the city’s street maintenance engineer, said workers had been putting down salt since the snow started about 4:30 a.m. Friday.

Crews were able to pretreat bridges with salt Thursday afternoon after the rain stopped, Rowser said.

Friday morning’s road conditions were much better than what drivers experienced Thursday in central Nebraska. A stretch of about 145 miles of Interstate 80 — from roughly Grand Island to North Platte — was closed for several hours Thursday while the storm howled and crews cleared crashes.

Late Friday morning, two people were killed on the Interstate near Goehner, about 20 miles west of Lincoln. According to the Seward County Sheriff’s Office, the driver of an eastbound pickup truck lost control near the Utica exit. The pickup went into the median and collided with a westbound semi truck.

Two people in the pickup were killed, and the semi driver was taken to a nearby hospital with head injuries. His condition was unavailable Friday afternoon.

Since the storm began Thursday morning, the Nebraska State Patrol has responded to more than 230 weather-related incidents, spokesman Cody Thomas said, including 40 crashes. But on Friday afternoon, he said the pace of incidents seemed to be slowing down as the snow moved out of the area.

The weekend should bring some warmer days, with highs on Sunday reaching at least 30 degrees, said Scott Dergan, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Valley.

But people should plan for a windy, cold New Year’s Eve. In Omaha, strong winds could drop wind chills into the single digits for the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show.

And the area could see some light snow and patchy freezing drizzle on Monday morning.

“The thing we’ll notice most is the sharply colder temperatures and strong north winds,” Dergan said.

He said the cold should last into New Year’s Day before a warm front rolls in later in the week, with Wednesday’s temperatures approaching 30 degrees.

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