Massive storm pummels the landscape and shuts down travel

Massive storm pummels the landscape and shuts down travel

A massive spring storm continues to hammer the U.S. from the south to the northern plains and the claw on the back end of that hammer was poised to scrape across the metro Saturday, putting a snowy cap on Friday’s thunderstorms.

Blizzard warnings stretched from northern Kansas across most of Nebraska and South Dakota into southwestern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa Saturday, with winter storm warnings and watches covering most of the rest of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Heavy snow already blanketed parts of western Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Several of western Nebraska’s major roadways remained shut down Saturday. The Department of Transportation advised motorists to plot their travels carefully and avoid heading into the trouble zones.

The Nebraska State Patrol posted several tweets unveiling the extent of the snow cover: the Gibbon exit, lost in a shroud of snow – a semi stuck in a ditch. Interstate 80 – shut down west of Grand Island – motorists urged to “please stay home.”

NSP’s Facebook page, from Troop E: “Troopers are working hard to reach everyone who is stranded. There are multiple car accidents in many places in the Kimball to Sidney area.”

KNEB radio reports a fatal crash on I-80 near Chappell Friday. No details were available.

The Nebraska Public Power District reported hundreds of customer power outages Saturday.

A tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg, Arkansas, injuring at least four people and causing widespread damage Friday afternoon.

Crawford County Emergency Management Director Brad Thomas said there were at least three entrapments following the twister. He said he did not know the condition of the four people hospitalized.