UPDATE (11:55 a.m.)
A Canadian clipper blowing through the central U.S. delivered punishing winds to the Omaha metro and kicked up blizzard conditions in parts of Iowa, closing some schools and paralyzing travel Monday.
Overnight wind speeds peaked in the 40 mph to 60 mph range in eastern Nebraska, said Becky Kern, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Conditions were worse in north-central Iowa, where the brunt of the storm hit, with fresh snow and stronger winds. At least through the noon hour, travel wasn’t advised across that part of the state.
Suzie Blume, office administrator for the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, described a white-knuckle drive on U.S. Highway 30 to get to work this morning in Denison, Iowa. The county was under a blizzard warning Monday, and schools there were canceled.
“It’s nasty in spots, blowing snow, whiteout conditions,” she said. “We’re encouraging people to stay home.”
In the area west of Ames, Iowa, the Boone County emergency management office reported that visibility was near zero Monday morning and vehicles were in ditches and blocking roads. An accident blocked U.S. 20.
Peak winds for 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m.:
Eppley Airfield: 52 mph at 11 p.m. Sunday
Millard: 41 mph at 10:15 p.m. Sunday
Offutt Air Force Base: 56 mph at 11:03 p.m. Sunday
Bennington: 43 mph at 11:42 p.m. Sunday
Blair: 51 mph at 9:35 a.m. Monday
Fremont: 49 mph at 2:15 a.m. Monday
Norfolk: 58 mph at 8:25 p.m. Sunday
Columbus: 48 mph at 8:55 a.m. Monday
Gretna: 44 mph at 6:26 p.m. Sunday
Wahoo: 51 mph at 9:15 a.m. Monday
The latest Omaha-area forecast, according to the National Weather Service office in Valley:
Today — Areas of blowing snow before 1 p.m. Mostly cloudy with a high near 29. Windy, with north-northwest winds of 30 mph and gusts as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent.
Tonight — Mostly cloudy with a low around 17. Windy, with north-northwest winds of 20 to 25 mph. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph.
Tuesday — Partly sunny with a high near 28 and not as windy.
Tuesday night — Partly cloudy with a low around 12.
Wednesday — Partly sunny with a high near 28.