City and County Officials Highlight Preparations for Potential Blizzard

LINCOLN–(News Release Dec. 21)–Lincoln and Lancaster County transportation and public safety officials today highlighted preparations to keep residents safe during potential blizzard conditions forecast for Wednesday, December 21 through Friday, December 23.

The National Weather Service has issued the following:

  • Winter Storm Warning is in effect from noon Wednesday, December 21 to 7 p.m. Friday, December 23. Blizzard conditions are possible with winds up to 45 mph, light icing and snow accumulations up to 3 inches.
  • Wind Chill Warning is in effect from 12:01 a.m. Thursday, December 22 to noon, Saturday, December 24. Wind chills as low as 45 below zero are possible.

Liz Elliott, Lincoln Transportation and Utilities (LTU) Director, said LTU plans its winter operations procedures according to National Weather Service forecasts. The winter operations team is standing by, she said.

“Our transportation system is crucial to our community’s daily lives and we at the City and County plan to do everything we can to make sure the public can get where they need to go safely,” Elliott said.

Elliott reminded residents to use the online Snowplow Tracker at when considering making snow-related service requests. All snowfighting vehicles are equipped with GPS tracking devices. During winter storms, residents may do the following:

  • Watch – Watch for the storm to end. Crews are better able to respond to resident service requests after a storm has passed and arterial and emergency streets have been serviced.
  • Review – Review the Snowplow Tracker at to monitor snowplowing progress. Please pause requests unless your service area is shaded in dark green, which means it has been serviced, inspected and approved. If your service area is not shaded in dark green, crews are still plowing and may solve your issue soon.
  • Request – Make a service request. Please submit requests to if your service area is shaded in dark green but requires additional attention.

Lincoln Fire and Rescue and Lincoln Police departments also have been monitoring the weather and are prepared to respond to emergencies throughout the snowstorm.

“The Lincoln Police Department is prepared and ready to assist the public and our city partners in order to keep everyone safe,” said Police Chief Teresa Ewins.

LPD plans to assist with traffic control where needed. The departments remind residents to be prepared when dealing with severe weather. Tips and reminders include:

  • Stock vehicles with winter roadside kits that include ice melt, small shovel, flashlight, blankets and handwarmers.
  • If your vehicle becomes stuck on ice/snow, stay with the vehicle until it can be moved.
  • If it is not safe to stay with your vehicle, call the Lincoln Police Department non-emergency number at 402-441-6000.
  • Wait to file police reports if there is no urgency.
  • If you have an emergency, dial 911 and officers will respond
  • Inspect your furnace and change filters.
  • Replace batteries in fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Do not leave candles, fireplaces, and space heaters unattended.
  • Remove snow from around fire hydrants.

“There are more than 12,000 fire hydrants across the city and many times, our Fire and Rescue crews must dig fire hydrants out from snow during emergencies which hinders our efforts to be as effective as possible,” said Fire and Rescue Chief Dave Engler. “If there’s a fire hydrant near your property, please dig around the hydrant and shovel a path directly to it.”

Lancaster County Engineer Pam Dingman said snowplow crews are standing by with plans to apply granular salt and sand where necessary.

Residents who are unable to shovel or snow blow their property or sidewalks are encouraged to make a plan with a family member, friend, or neighbor. The Snow Angels Program, a volunteer group who assist neighbors with shoveling/snow blowing their properties is also available. Additional volunteers are needed. Visit to sign up and learn more.

LTU Winter Operations information and updates will be shared through the media, on Facebook and Twitter, and through the City’s Winter Operation email updates. To sign up for emailed updates, and for more winter operations information, visit