SIDNEY - Areas of blowing and drifting snow is reducing visibility, covering roads with a sheet of ice and closing roads in the Nebraska panhandle and eastern Wyoming.

Blizzard conditions are expected to continue through early Sunday morning in Sioux, Dawes, Scotts Bluff and Box Butte Counties in Nebraska, and Converse, Goshen and Niobrara Counties in Wyoming. A total of 6 to 12 inches of snow, with higher amounts possible along the Pine Ridge, is expected to fall by the end of the weather event.

Chadron has already seen 10 inches and snow was still falling Saturday morning.

Banner, Morrill, Kimball and Cheyenne Counties in Nebraska, and Laramie County in Wyoming, are in a high wind warning until 5 a.m. Sunday. Northwest winds of 35 to 50 MPH, with wind gusts of 65 to 75 MPH, are being reported across the region.

The winter storm conditions has forced the closure of Interstate 80 from Sidney to the Wyoming state line. I-80 is closed across Wyoming. 

Highway 385 from Bridgeport to Sidney, Highway 88 from Bridgeport to the Wyoming state line, and Highway 71 from Gering to Kimball are also closed as of Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service in Cheyenne says travel should be restricted to emergencies only. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.

"Hunker down, stay off the roads, and ride it out today," the Nebraska State Patrol said in a tweet Saturday morning.

Freezing drizzle and fog covered power lines and trees with ice Friday. Power outages have been reported across the region. Wheatbelt Public Power has reported outages from Gering to Ogallala. High West Energy is dealing with outages from Cheyenne to Sidney. 

Holiday travelers warned to be aware of powerful storm

CHICAGO (AP) - A powerful storm making its way east from California is expected to bring intensifying snow and ice to the Midwest during the year’s busiest travel weekend.

The National Weather Service says the storm is expected to drop 6 to 12 inches of snow from the northern Plains states into Minnesota, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

High winds and ice are expected to make travel almost impossible in some places.

Before moving east, the storm caused the death of at least one person in South Dakota and closed highways in the western U.S., affecting travelers over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Forecasters warn that people traveling throughout the weekend should be aware of the storm’s effects.

The storm is expected to hit northeastern states on Sunday, bringing freezing rain and snow.

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