Photo by Darla Golden
East Fourth St. - 1 p.m.
Bitter winds and blowing snow roared into west central Nebraska Wednesday, virtually paralyzing the area by mid-afternoon.
Virtual whiteout conditions existed in southwest Nebraska, with less than a quarter mile visibility. With the temperature around 25 degrees, winds blew 20-25 miles an hour, gusting to 35 in North Platte.
The county courthouse closed at 2 p.m. City offices closed at 3 p.m. So did the community college.
In McCook, wind gusts reached 50 miles an hour around 4 p.m. at the McCook Regional Airport. The Department of Roads closed U.S. Highway 83 in both directions, north and south from McCook, at 4:16 p.m.
Interstate-80 was briefly closed at 6 p.m. between Ogallala and Kearney, but the restriction in the western part of the area did not last long as the storm moved east. However, I-80 was closed at 11:30 p.m. at the Overton exit.
In North Platte, the weather improved considerably before midnight. The wind died to around 10 miles an hour and the temperature hovered around 20 degrees, the National Weather Service in North Platte reported.
Wind-chill temperatures hit 10-15 below zero during the heighth of the storm Wednesday and could fall that low again around sunup Thursday and again Friday morning, the weather service said.
Temperatures are expected to hit 25 degrees Thursday and warm to the mid 30s during the weekend. But winter will remain for the foreseeable future, the weather service said.
This report was updated at midnight - Editor