Snowstorms in the Spring Causes Highway and Interstate Closures
Due to the snow and ice, two major highways in the southern Nebraska Panhandle were blocked on Saturday afternoon. All sides of I-80 between Big Springs and Rock Springs, Wyoming, were blocked at 2:45 p.m., and Highway 30 was also shut down between those two cities at 3 p.m. The stretch of I-80 between Cozad and Big Springs that travels west is now closed.
Keeping I-80 open for as long as possible is a priority for the Nebraska Department of Transportation, as stated by Cheyenne County Sheriff Adam Frerichs. Still, human lives must take precedence at some point.
“Based on a pretty good sized accident that took place at the junction of I-76 and I-80 and the deteriorating road conditions, the state of Nebraska has decided toy. 30 for people’s safety,” Frerichs said.
Eastbound I-76 in Colorado was shut down between Sterling and Nebraska. Highway 138 was also shut down between Sterling and Nebraska. When both highways open again is unknown. Until Sunday at 6 a.m., residents in Cheyenne, Deuel, Garden, and Keith Counties were under a winter storm warning. Snowfall of 4-8 inches and wind gusts of 45 miles per hour were predicted for Sidney, Ogallala, Chappell, and Oshkosh.
Frerichs cautioned against Saturday night travel. “Visibility conditions right now, due to the falling and blowing snow, are basically pretty terrible in some areas,” Frerichs said. “In some areas, speaking with my deputies, they can barely see over the hood of their car.
The roads are starting to become snow-packed and icy. If you have to travel, please be careful. Our current advice is tohome, stay warm, and stay safe. There’s no sense in venturing out into this right now.” As of 3:30 p.m. on Saturday(March 25, 2023), all county roads in Cheyenne County, according to Frerichs.
“It doesn’t sound like the north and south roads, like Hwy. 385 and Hwy. 19, are being affected as badly as the east and west roads, but it’s just going to be kind of a ‘wait-and-see’ right now to see how long this storm bears down on us,” Frerichs said.
The winter weather advisory has been lifted from Kimball and Banner Counties and the counties in southeast Wyoming. A winter weather advisory was still in effect for Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Box Butte, Dawes, Sioux, Logan, and Sedgwick Counties as of Saturday afternoon.
There is a possibility of snow every day until Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service office in Cheyenne. On Tuesday, sunlight and temperatures in the low 40s return.