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Looking back at rare January ice stormTell North Platte what you think
 
Photo by Joe Chitwood
A layer of ice melts on the parking lot at Sixth and Jeffers around 2 p.m. Monday.
Photo by Joe Chitwood
An icy street in Cody Park.
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Ice and snow covered street on N. Madison, looking south from Front towards Fourth.
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Icy trees near lake Maloney, around noon on Monday.

The temperarture hovered around the freezing mark for nearly 18 hours Sunday night and Monday in North Platte, as drizzle fell.

The result -- a rare ice storm.

Two semi-trucks collided Sunday morning near Odessa as the drivers came across a thin, virtually undectable layer of ice. Thankfully, no one was injured in the wreck, but both rigs were consumed.

Prolonged freezing rain is unusual and even more rare in mid-January. Freezing drizzle is more likely in March or April, said National Weather Service Meterologist Kenny Roberg of North Platte.

Amazingly, only four vehicles slipped off state and federal roads in central and western Nebraska, a spokeswoman for Troop D of Nebraska State Patrol said. That wreck happened at nearly the same time as the crash near Odessa -- 8:26 a.m. Sunday.

The westbound semi-truck went off I-80 and rolled just east of Lexington. No one was injured.

North Platte Police Spokesman John Deal said there were a few minor hit-and-run accidents inside the city limits on Sunday evening and Monday due to the ice. As of Tuesday afternoon, police had not found four hit-and-run drivers, Deal said.

Roberg said parking lots and sidewalks were often slicker than well-traveled streets, creating danger for pedestrians.

In North Platte, the temperature hovered around 32 degrees from 6 p.m. Sunday night until about 11 a.m. Monday. Ice on sidewalks and parking lots finally melted a little around 3 p.m., when the temp reached 35 degrees.

Warmer weather arrived after the storm, as temps reached the mid-40s Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. However, Col. Brad Rice of the State Patrol urged drivers to continue to travel with caution.

“There are still very slick roads across Nebraska, and with low overnight temperatures, refreezing is again possible. So continue to drive with care, and always buckle your seatbelts,” Rice said.

Forecast

Looking ahead, snow is expected to develop Monday night and continue through Tuesday night in central Nebraska. Up to six inches are expected in some areas, the weather service said.

The forecast Wednesday calls for:

• Snow and slush covered roads develop Monday night, Jan. 23.

• Winds will be east 10 -20 mph but will become northerly at 20 mph.

• Wednesday wind forecast: Northwest 15-20 mph. 

• Additional increases in wind speed are possible, which could create significant blowing and drifting snow.

• Temperatures in the 20s to mid 30s Monday night and Tuesday but falling into the teens and 20s Tuesday night. Highs 25-35 on Wednesday.


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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 1/18/2017
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