East Fourth St. 6 p.m. Thursday
Temperatures climbed to a record 79 degrees Tuesday afternoon in North Platte, but snow started to fall on Thursday afternoon as the temperature fell to 30 degrees. From 3-6 inches are possible by Friday morning, the National Weather Service said.Northerly winds will gust up to 30 miles an hour through Friday, and overnight lows will sink to around 10 degrees through Saturday night, according to the forecast Thursday afternoon.
On Tuesday, the temperature reached 79 just before 4 p.m. at the National Weather Service headquarters in North Platte, exceeding the old record of 76 in 1982. A combination of 20-30 mph west winds gusts, low humidity and dry fuels pushed fire conditions to dangerous levels at the same time.
However, the high impact winter storm was expected to arrive late Wednesday night, but the storm front moved more slowly, and more intensely, arriving mind afternoon Thursday. As much as 18 inches of snow are possible in northwestern Nebraska, the weather service said.
Given the warm ground conditions, snow may freeze quickly on roadways as temperatures sink overnight, making travel extremely hazardous.
In addition to hazardous travel, the storm brings deadly conditions for newborn livestock during the early spring calving and lambing season, the weather service said.
Colder weather will last awhile. The highs will be in the 30s over the weekend and the lower 40s early next week, according to the forecast.
Before traveling in the worst areas, consider these reminders from the Nebraska State Patrol:
• 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 and keep a window cracked 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 containing:
First aid kit
Mobile phone, charger, batteries
Blankets or sleeping bag, extra set of clothing and winter accessories
Jumper cables, tow rope, tool kit
Matches and candles
Ice scraper, shovel, small bag of sand
High energy or dehydrated foods, bottled water
Flashlight- included extra batteries (cold weather reduces battery strength)
Both large and small can
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.