The predicted weather system that had the northern Panhandle under a Winter Storm Warning all day Saturday followed by a Blizzard Warning when it expired at 11 PM took a lot longer to arrive than expected, but hit hard when it finally did get here.
After a slow start of only about an inch in Chadron by 10:00 AM yesterday, snow totals were around 3” at noon at the KCSR/KBPY studios and between 7” and 12” by 4 PM.
All roads into and out of Chadron were closed by that same time, part of a complete closure of all roads in the Panhandle and as far east as North Platte on Interstate 80 and Hwy 30, Cody on Hwy 20, and Hyannis on Hwy 2. All remained closed overnight and most were still closed at 7 AM.
Although city streets were never officially closed, Interim Chadron Police Chief Rick Hickstein asked everyone not to not travel even in unless it was an emergency or absolutely necessary. City plows made good progress throughout the day and resumed their work early this morning as Chadron remains under a snow emergency.
All area public schools – Chadron, Crawford, Sioux County, Hay Springs, Gordon-Rushville, Hemingford, Oelrichs, Edgemont, Hot Springs, and Lusk – have cancelled classes today, although Oelrichs and Lusk are going to virtual learning with students expected to check in with teachers and complete assignments.
Chadron State College was to resume classes today after Midsemester Break, but decided on Friday to instead close the campus today while encouraging students to wait until road conditions were safer before trying to return to campus.
Power outages were reported all around the Panhandle yesterday, generally in rural areas and with some still without electricity. Northwest Rural and NPPD were among the utilities with outages.
NPPD reported hundreds of customers without power from Bridgeport to Broadwater, near the Scottsbluff airport, the Crawford area, north of Scottsbluff, and about 500 between Rushville and Whiteclay.