Cold weather to stick around
BY MICHELLE STARR Lincoln Journal Star

Bitterly low temperatures stung Lincoln area residents Sunday and will continue for the next few days. 

The National Weather Service declared the Lincoln area in a winter storm warning Sunday, which is scheduled to last until noon today. 

Rick Chermok, a meteorologist for the weather service in Valley, said the warning usually is given when more than 6 inches of snow is expected, but the combination of cold, blowing snow and low windchills made the advisory important. 

The weather is potentially life-threatening, Chermok said. 

Lincoln's high daytime temperature Sunday was 12 degrees at 6 a.m. 

This storm, he said, has created the worst combination of conditions seen in at least a few years. A total of four to six inches of snow is expected by this afternoon. 

Unless travel is necessary, Chermok advised against it. But if people were to leave their homes, he suggested taking a cell phone and gloves, and double-checking the gas gauge on their cars so they don't get stranded. 

With wind chills so low, exposed skin can get frostbite within a matter of minutes, he said. 

The weather conditions also can create slick road surfaces and low visibility. 

Lincoln police officers received more accident calls than during an average Sunday afternoon and evening, Capt. David Beggs said. 

A total of 26 accidents with either no injuries or minor injuries happened between 3 and 10 p.m. Sunday, Beggs said. On a typical Sunday afternoon during those times, police would usually respond to three to five accidents. On some occasions the number would reach 10. 

Beggs said he could not determine how many of the accidents were weather-related. 

Sgt. Bob Marker from the Lancaster County sheriff's office said no one reported weather-related accidents within the county Sunday. If snowfall predictions were correct, he expected officers to respond to calls this morning as people head onto the roads. 

In Jefferson County, shortly before 9 p.m., a car slid into a ditch on Nebraska 8 about one mile east of Fairbury. No injuries were reported, Jefferson County Sheriff's Department authorities said. 

Near 9:30 p.m. an ambulance transporting a patient from Fairbury to Lincoln - not connected to any weather-related accident - reported heavy freezing rain and blowing snow on U.S. 136 east of Fairbury, Jefferson County sheriff's office reported. 

No other Southeast Nebraska county sheriff's departments reported weather-related accidents or problems as of late Sunday night. 

Today the weather will be cold with snow and blowing snow, the National Weather Service reported. This afternoon the snow will diminish into flurries. The temperature is expected to reach 5 degrees but the wind chill will be between 30- to 40-degrees below zero. The wind is expected to blow from the north at 20- to 30-miles per hour. 

Tuesday will be partly cloudy with a high around 10 degrees. 

The temperatures later in the week will rise slightly to reach 15 to 20 degrees on Wednesday. The National Weather Service predicts a chance of snow. 

Thursday also will send a chill to the bone with a high of 20 to 25 degrees and a low of 5 to 10 degrees. 

Friday and Saturday will be warmer with a predicted high in the 30s for both days, the National Weather Service said.