Wintry weather returned to eastern Nebraska and western Iowa on Monday morning, leaving almost the entire region under a winter weather advisory until noon due to freezing drizzle.
The precipitation made travel hazardous, especially during the commute to work in the Omaha area, the National Weather Service office in Valley said.
Ice accumulations of less than 0.1 of an inch were possible, the weather service said, with little or no sleet accumulation expected.
More than 4,700 OPPD customers were without power at one point Monday morning, possibly due to winds and ice.
Motorists were warned that another round of freezing drizzle was possible Monday night into Tuesday morning.
“The atmosphere is going through a transition,” said a KMTV meteorologist, Ryan McPike.
He said a cold front moving through the region was touching off the drizzle and colder conditions.
— Because of the icy weather, officials announced Monday morning that Elkhorn Public Schools would not hold classes today.
— Omaha Catholic schools will not hold classes Monday.
— No students in Millard or Bellevue schools due to Presidents Day, but teachers and hourly staff should report at 10 a.m.
— Creighton University will open at 9:15 a.m. due to icy conditions. Call CU’s weather hotline at 402-280-5800.
— All Metropolitan Community College locations will not begin classes until noon.
Authorities asked that all Douglas County crashes Monday morning without injuries that aren’t blocking roadways should move to a safe location and exchange information. A number of accidents were reported across the area, but no serious injuries appeared to have been caused by the icy conditions.
A steady temperature around 30 degrees and north wind gusts as high as 25 mph were likely Monday morning in the Omaha area. The temperature was expected to fall to around the mid-20s by late afternoon, forecasters said.
Monday night’s low should fall to 20, and freezing drizzle-sleet could develop.
Tuesday, there is a chance of freezing rain-drizzle before noon and a high around 25, the weather service said. Tuesday night is likely to get cold, with a low in the mid- to upper single digits.
Wednesday and part of Thursday in the Omaha area will be mostly sunny with highs in the mid-20s to mid-30s.
There is a chance of more precipitation Thursday through Saturday, with a snow-freezing rain mix possible. Highs could reach the low to mid-40s and overnight lows will dip into the mid 20s.
Sunday in the Omaha area is forecast to be mostly sunny with a high in the mid-40s.
McPike said the chance for precipitation Thursday through Saturday was 30 percent to 40 percent.
“Right now,” he said, “I think we’ve got enough to worry about Monday morning and Tuesday morning.”
McPike also said Tuesday’s precipitation “may wind down” before the morning commute.
Mayor Jean Stothert said on her Facebook page Monday: “Our Public Works crews will be on duty, treating streets for icy conditions. Many schools, government agencies, businesses and banks will be closed for President’s Day. If you’re out in the morning, please drive carefully.”
Most of Nebraska’s roads Monday morning were wet, with some in northeast Nebraska and the Panhandle completely covered, and some in north-central and central Nebraska partially to completely covered.
In Iowa, most of the state’s roads were seasonal, with some in western and northwest Iowa completely covered.
In addition to icy major roads and side streets, overpasses and bridges, along with sidewalks and parking lots, were expected to be very slick Monday morning.
“It’s pretty bad in some spots,” McPike said about road conditions.
OPPD’s website early Monday showed more than 4,700 outages among it customers, including 3,000 in Douglas and 1,400 in Saunders Counties, mainly due to stiff winds and ice taking a toll on power poles and transformers. Later, the number had been cut to 3,100 outages, including 1,300 in Douglas and 1,600 in Saunders Counties.
One departure and one arrival were canceled at Eppley Airfield on Monday morning. Airport officials urged travelers to allow extra time for travel to the airport.
Closings, late starts
— Midlands University Fremont campus and Omaha center will open at 10 a.m. Monday.
— Nebraska Methodist College classes will begin at 10 a.m. Monday.
— Immanuel Partial Program and Mercy Partial Program are canceled Monday.
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