Late April Blizzard Packs Heavy Punch

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an emergency declaration to allow state funds to be used for the response to a spring blizzard that has swept most of the state this weekend.

Ricketts issued the declaration Saturday morning.

His office says the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency worked to get a temporary communications tower to an area of north-central Nebraska after its dispatch tower was toppled in 60 mph winds. Blaine, Garfield, Greeley, Loup, Sherman, Thomas, Valley and Wheeler counties were affected by the loss of the tower.

The blizzard, which hit Friday, led to road closures and left scores of motorists stranded.

During the course of this spring storm, NPPD saw approximately 4,900 customers without power at various times. Poor road conditions combined with blizzard conditions kept NPPD crews from completing the work Friday night and most of Saturday.

The Nebraska State Patrol says at least one person was killed because of the blizzard.
The patrol says 61-year-old Rollo Ward, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, died at the scene of the crash Friday when the semitrailer he was driving eastbound on Interstate 80 went out of control on the snow-covered roadway and hit another semi previously stranded in the blizzard.

The crash happened near Chappell in western Nebraska.

The patrol says the Friday blizzard also left more than 100 drivers stranded on I-80 and other highways near Sidney.

The patrol said its troopers worked with area police, sheriff's departments and emergency management agencies, as well as the Nebraska Department of Transportation, to rescue the stranded drivers.