A fresh round of snow is forecast to settle today over hard-packed snow and ice on Midlands roads.
Major accumulations are not forecast, but most of Nebraska and Iowa can expect 1 to 3 inches of powder. North toward South Dakota and Minnesota, 3 to 5 inches could fall.
Omaha public works crews are still out cleaning up side streets partly coated with ice from last week's storm, said city street maintenance engineer Scott McIntyre.
“Unfortunately, with the snowpack that is down there now, a snow that would kind of take care of itself with a little sunshine is just going to set us back in our attempts to get out there and continue to put some material down in some of these slick spots,” McIntyre said.
“With the cold temperatures we've been having, we're not seeing a huge amount of relief.”
A major winter storm headed up the East Coast on Wednesday, disrupting hundreds of flights, according to AccuWeather, The World-Herald's weather consultant.
Airlines serving Omaha's Eppley Airfield reported a handful of weather-related delays among the nearly two-dozen flights that were set back.
United Airlines expected the storm to delay flights into and out of Newark Liberty International Airport. Tim Schmitt, operations manager for the Omaha Airport Authority, said a Delta flight scheduled to arrive Wednesday night from Detroit was canceled. Also canceled was a US Airways flight from Buffalo, N.Y., to Omaha.
“Passengers should contact their airline to confirm the status of their flights,” he said.
Merl Heinlein, meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Hastings, Neb., said this week's new snow should not pose the travel problems on Interstate 80 that last week's storm did.
“This is nothing compared to what we had before,” he said.
Nebraska roads officials are advising motorists to use extreme caution on most of the state's roads. All but southeast and southwest Nebraska roads have been slickened by the snow moving through today. In western Iowa, roads are similarly partially or completely covered by snow or a snowpack.
Heavier snowfalls are forecast for northeast Nebraska, northern Iowa and into South Dakota and Minnesota, so travel on Interstates 29 and 35 could be affected by the weather. As of late morning, Iowa roads officials were reporting snow on I-29 north of Council Bluffs.
Last week's blizzard led to fatal accidents, significant power outages and crippling travel conditions in Iowa. Highways there were so treacherous that roads officials asked surrounding states to warn away truckers.
In the Omaha area, the snow is expected to begin after noon today and taper off through the day Friday. The snow is expected to contain about one-tenth of an inch of moisture and will get its fluff from the cold.
High temperatures across much of the region are forecast to be in the upper teens to low 20s. Overnight lows most of this week are forecast to drop into the low teens.
Such temperatures make it more difficult for crews to clear stubborn patches of ice and snow packed onto side streets. Recent freeze-thaw cycles only glazed over chunks of ice on roads, McIntyre said.
“It's very difficult to peel up,” he said.
City Council members Ben Gray and Garry Gernandt both said they've received some complaints about street conditions since last week's snowfall.
“But there's really not a whole lot to do about it,” Gray said. “It's just not going to happen that fast. ... You need for there to be some warm days.”
Roughly 60 public works vehicles are driving through areas with reported slick spots and treating them with salt and sand, McIntyre said, especially near intersections and hills.
Friday night is forecast to be the coldest of the rest of the week, with single-digit lows across much of the region and about 10 degrees in Omaha.
Skies this weekend are forecast to be clear. No travel problems, beyond the cold, are expected for New Year's Eve.
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