Heavy, quickly-accumulating snow was the forecast for Wednesday into Thursday for the metro area.
The winter weather storm has been on the National Weather Service’s radar for about a week, said meteorologist Brett Albright.
“Within the last 48 hours, we’ve been seeing increased amounts in a few areas along I-80,” he said. “The main period of concern for us is going to be in the middle part of the afternoon and during the evening, so it’s going to center right on anyone that’s going to commute back and forth to Omaha or throughout Washington County, and we’re going to be concerned with, essentially, very heavy snow rates and snow accumulating very quickly.
“We may see snow rates as high as 1 to 2 in. per hour. For right now, the forecast is, as we go into the afternoon, we may see some wintery stuff, and once we head into that 2 p.m. range, conditions are going to go downhill rapidly with higher snow rates coming in and we’re going to start to pile stuff up this evening.”
Totals could reach as high as 8 to 14 in., with most of the snow accumulating in the afternoon and slowing down by the evening.
Albright said with the heavy snowfall, the public is encouraged to take precautions if they have to drive.
“(There will be) difficulty with travel, impossible in some places and snow plows can’t keep up with that,” he said. “Take it very slow and if you can, make sure you have emergency preparedness kits and cellphone so you can tell people where you are.
“The biggest thing, when the snow starts falling, we encourage people not to be on the roadways. It just helps snow plow operators to get cleared sooner so we can get out and get back to our daily lives tomorrow.”