Another spring snowstorm last weekend caused another familiar sight—shoveling snow. Dollar General Manager Krista McClain was clearing the store’s walks mid-morning Saturday after the area was hit with four inches of snow and high winds. (Johnson Publications photo)
Spring blizzard cripples area; Highway 6 closed temporarily
Imperial and the surrounding area were rather quiet on Friday with blizzard weather killing power for most of the afternoon and early evening.
Imperial Public Works Director Pat Davison said that the combination of wind, snow and ice from the storm caused the outage to the Tri-State Generation and Transmission power supplier west of town.
After the five to six hours that the community was without power, city workers got temporary service hooked up to Southwest Public Power. Since Southwest is not the main supplier of power to the city, there was another 30 minutes on Sunday where power was turned off to reconnect to Tri-State.
The National Weather Service in North Platte reported peak wind gusts reached 61 mph on Friday and 53 mph on Saturday. Local weather reports showed snow accumulation of 4 inches.
Prior to the storm, Chase County Schools Superintendant Joey Lefdal canceled school for Friday. Teachers and staff received word of the cancelation Thursday night.
“I won’t hold school if there’s a blizzard warning. The warning started at 6 a.m. (Friday) so I didn’t want to put the buses out there,” Lefdal said.
With calving season, many ranchers in the area were worried about their livestock.
Thanks to a good row of trees for protection at their ranch near Enders, Penny Zadina said they were “very fortunate” that nothing serious happened with their cattle.
The Imperial Post Office was closed on Friday but open on Saturday. However, the mail trucks weren’t able to make it due to the weather.
Monday was chaotic, though, according to Postmaster Barb Prottsman.
“Mondays are usually heavy anyway, but when you throw in a holiday or bad weather it’s worse,” she said.
Travel was a big issue Friday and even into Saturday. At 3:32 p.m. on Friday, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (DOT) tweeted photos of semis and cars stuck on Interstate 80 saying, “Do NOT travel unless absolutely necessary.”
Multiple stretches along I-80 were closed during the storm.
Nebraska State Patrol reported that more than 100 motorists were rescued on I-80 on Friday. The DOT tweeted around 6 p.m. on Saturday that all of I-80 was back open.
Karen Fanning of the local DOT office said there were multiple highway closings on Friday, including Highway 6 westbound from Imperial to the state line. Those closings reopened Saturday evening.
Fanning reminded travelers that it is illegal to be on roads that have been closed, mainly because when they go to plow, they have to work around cars.
“It took us six hours to get to the state line because of stranded cars,” Fanning said.
The Friday the 13th storm also cancelled or postponed numerous events in the community and area. See stories inside on rescheduled events.