Snow caused throngs of parents to descend on Goodrich Middle School Tuesday, where idling vehicles waited 30 minutes or longer as children searched among the makeshift parking lot.
The snowstorm blanketed Lincoln with at least 3 inches of snow.
The snow ahead of a frigid and windy forecast prompted Lincoln Public Schools officials on Tuesday night to cancel Wednesday’s classes, following the lead of other Nebraska school districts and marking the district’s second “weather” day of the school year.
“At this point we believe the snow, wind and cold could cause unsafe conditions for our staff and students,” LPS spokeswoman Mary Kay Roth said in a press release.
Police worked more than 42 accidents throughout the day Tuesday as slick streets sent drivers careening into light pole, signs and each other, said Lincoln Police Capt. Don Scheinost.
Only three accidents involved injuries, which Scheinost called “remarkable,” considering police worked nearly double the 25-accident daily average they see normally.
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office reported four accidents as of press time, about the same number as the Nebraska State Patrol reported across southeast Nebraska.
Fairbury reported the region’s most snowfall Tuesday with 6 inches, the National Weather Service in Valley reported. The Omaha metro area saw between 2 inches and 3.5 inches. Tecumseh also had 3.5 inches.
Northerly winds gusted up to 39 mph and mixed with the snow to decrease visibility to half a mile in Lincoln.
In Saunders County, an Ashland man died when an open-cab tractor collided with his pickup truck west of Ashland.
Saunders County Sheriff Kevin Stukenholtz said Arlin Kasuske, 36, was headed west in his pickup on Ashland Road when the eastbound tractor tried to turn into a farm driveway.
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The tractor driver, Bruce Rogers, told deputies he didn't see the truck because he was shielding his eyes from snow and wind. Rogers, 58, of rural Ashland, was not hurt.
Kasuske was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ashland received 4 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service in Valley.
Leaders at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Doane College, and a host of other schools and groups to cancel evening and afternoon classes and activities.
“The snow ends tonight,” Van DeWald, lead meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Valley, said Tuesday.
But he added: “There could still be a lingering flurry in the morning.”
Biting wind chills will likely be the bigger Wednesday weather story, DeWald said.
The National Weather Service forecast single-digit highs for Wednesday with wind chill values dipping as low as 25 degrees below zero across southeastern Nebraska.
Lincoln's high temperature Wednesday should peak at 8 degrees, and the low could drop to 10 below zero overnight.
For snowfall fans, another snow system – less powerful -- could roll across the area Friday and Saturday, he said.