Lincoln, Ne. — Governor Pete Ricketts and state agencies held a telephone news conference Monday urging Nebraskans to use caution and monitor weather conditions. As winter weather affects much of the state, Nebraska state agencies are coordinating their response efforts.
“Susanne and I urge Nebraskans to watch the weather closely, and to avoid any unnecessary travel in areas of the state experiencing severe winter weather,” said Governor Ricketts.
Agencies across state government are monitoring the weather and stand ready to respond as severe weather impacts communities across our state.
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) — NEMA staff is continuing to monitor weather conditions as the snowstorm progresses across the state.
“We are keeping in close touch with National Weather Service, local emergency managers and representatives at other state agencies so that we are ready in case the state would need to offer assistance to local emergency managers,” said NEMA Assistant Director Bryan Tuma. “The Nebraska Watch Center at NEMA will continue to monitor the storm and to respond to local needs.”
A NEMA watch officer team will to respond outside of normal business hours should assistance be needed.
Safety of all Nebraskans and visitors to the state is a priority and as conditions deteriorate, NEMA recommends that motorists avoid unnecessary driving.
Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) — The Department of Transportation continues to work to clear roadways through the storm. However, blizzard conditions across the state are hampering efforts for snow removal. Where blizzard conditions exists, traveling is not advised. Please stay off roadways to allow snow crews room to accomplish their job where roads have not yet been cleared.
Travelers can check on road closures and conditions by calling 511, Nebraska’s Advanced Traveler Information System. The system can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by dialing 511, or online at www.511.nebraska.gov. A Nebraska 511 mobile app is also available to download at no cost for smartphone users. Simply search your app provider for Nebraska 511.
Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) — NSP is urging motorists to be prepared and keep up-to-date on the latest weather and road conditions as a powerful winter storm expected to impact travel is forecast for the Cornhusker State.
“This storm has already had an impact on roads and highways throughout the state,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Our troopers are reporting the driving conditions are not favorable. We encourage all motorists to stay off the roads, if possible, and to stay up-to-date with 511 Nebraska if they have to travel.”
The Nebraska State Patrol issues the following reminders for motorists traveling in extreme weather conditions:
- Blowing and drifting snow can reduce visibility. Travel only when absolutely necessary. Always wear your seat belt and never drive faster than conditions allow.
- If you must travel, use well-traveled routes and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Let others know when you are going, when you will arrive, and what route you are taking.
- If you do become stranded while traveling, stay with your vehicle until help arrives. Wind chill and freezing temperatures can be life threatening.
- If your vehicle does become stuck, run your motor sparingly, keep a window cracked and make sure tailpipe is clear to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide.
- Carry a red flag or bandana in your car and attach it to the outside to signal you are in trouble.
Be sure to include a winter weather survival kit in your vehicle as your travel. The following are some basic items to keep in your car in case you become stranded in winter weather:
- Emergency first aid kit
- Ice scraper, shovel, small bag of sand
- Mobile phone, charger, batteries
- High energy or dehydrated foods, bottled water
- Blankets or sleeping bag, extra set of clothing and winter accessories
- Flashlight—include extra batteries (cold weather reduces battery strength)
- Jumper cables, tow rope, tool kit
- Both large and small can
- Matches and candles
- Red flag or bandana
Motorists in need of emergency roadside assistance can call the Nebraska State Patrol Highway Helpline when safe to do so by dialing *55 from any cell phone or 1-800-525-5555 from any landline, report emergencies to 911.