Published Monday
December 11, 2000 

Winter Storm Barrels Into Nebraska

A winter storm barreled into Nebraska on Monday, plunging wind chills to 43 below zero, dropping at least 8 inches of blowing snow and closing schools in the central and east. 

Hannah Menzel, 12, of Bellevue said she woke up to heavy snow on the driveway and streets, happily thinking "it had snowed a lot and we would not have school." 
click to enlarge  
Commuters crawl to work at 40th and Dodge Streets Monday morning.

Sure enough, all schools were closed in south-central to southeast Nebraska, including Kearney, Bellevue, Omaha, Lincoln, Beatrice and Broken Bow, where 8 inches to 5 inches of snow had fallen. 

Temperatures dropped to 2 below zero in central and eastern Nebraska and 30 mph winds drove wind chills to 43 below at Broken Bow, 42 below at Beatrice and O'Neill, 30 below in Omaha and 34 below at Norfolk. 

In western Nebraska, Scottsbluff had about 2 inches of snow and Alliance had 4 inches. Winds were not as strong in the west, though temperatures were colder at 17 below in Chadron and 8 below in Alliance. Most schools in western Nebraska were open. 

Despite not having to go school, Hannah Menzel had laid many plans with her brother and sister. 

"I'm going to go sledding if it warms up enough," she said, "work on my Christmas dress and build a snowman and a fort." 

Snow plows were out in force in Omaha, but had trouble keeping up. A number of cars and trucks spun their wheels on slick off ramps along Interstate 80, or became stuck in roadside drifts. 

Drifting snow slowed travel to about 25 mph on the interstate between Lincoln and Omaha. 

Douglas County District Court did not open Monday and jurors were told not to report. 

Rural schools in northeast Nebraska were closed, but Norfolk and Columbus in the northeast had received less snow and classes in those larger schools were held. 

Eppley Airfield in Omaha was open, but a number of flights were canceled going into Chicago's O'Hare Airport because of snow and wind in that city. 

Central and eastern Nebraska could get up to 10 inches of snow before the snowfall diminished to flurries later Monday, and flurries were expected in the Panhandle, the National Weather Service said. 

Temperatures could drop to record lows Monday night, ranging from 15 below to 20 below in the north-central part of the state, to 5 below to 10 below in the southeast.

Highs Tuesday were expected to be in the single digits and teens, the weather service said, and it could be Thursday before temperatures climb back above freezing.