Street crews stayed busy this weekend as more than nine inches of snow fell in some areas of Gage County.
The combination of snow and heavy winds made roadways nearly impassable for a period of time and forced Beatrice Public Schools and others nearby to cancel classes on Monday.
Beatrice Street Superintendent Jason Moore said crews were called out at around 4 a.m. Sunday, in the face of whiteout conditions.
“Those were some extreme whiteout conditions we had,” Moore said. “The visibility was extremely low but we were still able to get out and kept the snow routes scraped down.”
Moore said some areas received 9 1/2 inches of snowfall. With the high winds, he said workers focused on scraping the snow routes rather than put salt down.
“With the wind blowing that hard, the last thing you want to do is put salt down,” he said. “You want to keep the roads as thin as possible and hope the snow blows across. If you put salt down, that makes the streets wet and then the snow blowing sticks to itself.”
A snow emergency was declared Sunday morning, requiring cars to be moved from the downtown area and snow routes to make way for plow trucks.
It quit snowing at around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, easing efforts to clean the streets. Most of the snow routes were cleared early Monday morning, allowing crews to move in to the residential areas.
Moore said crews stay on the snow routes until a storm is finished, then move to the residential areas.
Many of the rural roads in Gage County were impassable due to drifting.
Sheriff Millard “Gus” Gustafson said his department received reports of people being stranded in their vehicles and was advising people to not travel on Sunday.
“Some roads are probably not yet passable (late Monday morning) just because of the snow we had and the drifts,” he said. “Just use caution because the roads are certainly icy and some spots will be black ice.”
Moore commended his department for working through the storm and said cleanup went smooth, considering the amount of snow that fell in the area.
“They did a really good job and stayed up on it,” Moore said. “I’ve got a really good crew and most of them knew there was a chance of stuff going on. Nobody was out of town and they did a really good job for the amount of snow we had.”