Rain began in Nebraska Wednesday afternoon and spread east, accompanied by blasts of cold north winds.
The rain will be changing to snow overnight and continue through noon Thursday, the National Weather Service in North Platte said.
Winds will gust up to 45 mph, creating low visibility and possible power outages in the worst of the storm, the weather service says. Slick road surfaces will make hazardous travel conditions.
The temperature shot all the way to the mid-50s Wednesday afternoon in North Platte, before the cold front arrived, but forecasters say it will plunge to the mid-teens overnight, with wind-chills far below zero.
Generally, 2-4 inches of snow is expected to fall Wednesday night, with 6 inches possible in the heart of the storm area, the weather services said.
It will remain cold for several days, with highs in the 20s and 30s and lows near zero each night.