CHADRON - Winter Storm Ulmer took a little longer arriving in Chadron than anticipated with the first snow not falling until just before 7:00 AM, but didn't take long to justify the decision made Tuesday by schools, government offices, and others to close today.
Some private businesses, including banks and restaurants, did go ahead and open this morning in Chadron, but nearly all had closed by noon with the restaurants that didn't - such as The Ridge and Pizza Hut - attracting those who were out and about.
Areas schools, including Chadron State College, were already scheduled to be closed Thursday and the city of Chadron decided the Chadron Area Aquatic Center and Chadron Public Library will stay closed as well with a decision on City Hall to be made in the morning. Thursday's regular Upper Niobrara White NRD board meeting has been postponed until Monday at 10 A.M.
All highways in the Panhandle have been closed since this morning, most with the notation of impassible, and county roads in Dawes and Sioux Counties are also dealing with flooding from the White River and small streams or even gullies.
Dawes County Sheriff Karl Dailey is reminding drivers on rural roads not to drive roads that are partly underwater because there's no way to tell whether the water has eroded and washed the surface away at those points.
It's not just the Panhandle with road closures. Nearly every highway north of Interstate 80 across Nebraska is closed with those in the central and eastern sections dealing with major flooding.
Governor Pete Ricketts held a news conference last hour to give an update on both sets of problems and the state and local responses to each. In a nutshell, the governor said conditions are going to get worse before they get better and he urged no unneccessary travel.
Much the same situation exists is South Dakota, with flooding in the south-central and southeastern areas and blizzard conditions in the rest.
Interstate 90 closed this morning between Wall and the Missouri River at Chamberlain, and officials extended the closure on west to the Wyoming state line at 4:00.
Officials of both Nebraska and South Dakota are encouraging people to call 511 or go online to the 511 information system to check on current travel conditions.
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