Columbus received 7.5 inches of snow from this weekend's storm.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for Platte, Boone, Colfax and Butler counties through midnight.

Look for a full story on the storm in Sunday's Telegram.


A winter storm warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for Platte and all surrounding counties effective all day Saturday.

Rain is expected in the area this evening before transitioning to snow during the overnight hours.

Six to 9 inches of snow is expected in the warned area, with amounts of 12 or more inches possible in spots.


The season's strongest storm will bear down on the area today, potentially dumping 10 inches of snow on Columbus before exiting the state Saturday night.

Weekend events including Sing Around Nebraska and a local wood-cutting retreat have already been canceled, and schools are dismissing early ahead the fast-moving system, which slid out of the Rocky Mountains into southwest Nebraska late Thursday night.

The National Weather Service in Valley showed a more southerly track for the system during a conference call Thursday afternoon, meaning the heaviest snowfall in eastern Nebraska - from 6 to 10 or more inches - is now expected along and just north of the Interstate 80 corridor.

Columbus lies squarely in a swath stretching from southwest to east-central Nebraska that could see 8-plus inches of snow. A preliminary forecast released by the Valley office at 5 p.m. Thursday estimates Columbus will receive 10.1 inches.

"This certainly isn't going to be one of our biggest events ever, but because we haven't had a lot of winter recently it's probably going to have a pretty large impact," said Van DeWald, lead meteorologist with the Weather Service in Valley.

The system moved into the Columbus area this morning, bringing light rain before daybreak.

Snow will likely begin falling in the city by late this afternoon or early evening, with the heaviest snowfall occurring Saturday morning.

The Weather Service expects a "clean" changeover from rain to snow, leaving freezing rain and sleet out of the forecast.

Although the storm will affect much of Nebraska, from just south of the South Dakota border to northern Kansas and Missouri, DeWald said the dividing line between little snow and significant accumulations could be as small as a county or two on the system's northern edge.

"The further north you get, the drier it gets pretty quick," he said.

A winter storm watch has been issued for a large portion of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, including Platte County, effective tonight through Saturday.

That area can expect winds to gradually increase today, eventually topping out at 15-35 mph on Saturday. The heavy, wet snow - possibly accumulating to a foot in spots - will be difficult to drift and scoop.

"While it's certainly going to be windy, I don't expect it to cause blizzard conditions (in eastern Nebraska)," DeWald said.

A blizzard watch issued for central and southwest Nebraska, where 8 to 16 inches of snow and gusty winds are expected, has been upgraded to blizzard and winter storm warnings.

Nance, Merrick and Polk counties are included in the winter storm warning with 8 to 12-plus inches of snow possible.

DeWald said weekend travelers should take precaution as the storm will have a "pretty significant impact" on the state, particularly Interstate 80 to the west.

Temperatures will top out in the low to mid-30s with overnight lows in the teens early next week.

"That's the one saving grace is that we aren't expecting a lot of sharply cold conditions," DeWald said.


City and county crews are ready for what could be a mixed bag of precipitation this weekend.

Street Superintendent Jay Nickolite said the city plans to begin plowing the main roads and emergency routes after a couple inches of snow has fallen. Residential areas will likely be addressed after the major streets are clear.

Typically the street department applies a mixture of sand and salt to intersections prior to a winter storm, but Nickolite said that won't happen today with rain still in the forecast.

"I'm just afraid with the rain coming that it probably wouldn't do much good," he said.

Platte County Highway Department will use the same strategy.

Highway Superintendent Terry Wicht said county snow-removal vehicles are ready to hit the hard-surface roads after 2 or 3 inches of snow has accumulated. Most gravel roads will be cleared Sunday.

The county also won't be spreading sand and salt because of the threat of high winds, which could reach 35 mph during the storm.

"We're ready to go and we'll take care of what we have to take care of," Wicht said.