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Governor issues emergency declaration for blizzard aid

(MGN)

Governor Pete Ricketts issued an emergency declaration in response to a blizzard that has affected communities in western and central Nebraska, according to a press release from Ricketts' office.

The declaration to allow state funds to be used for the response to the blizzard that moved through the area on Friday and Saturday.

“Hundreds of motorists have been stranded and power outages are reported in many communities,” Ricketts said. “This declaration allows state funds from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to help our communities in their response.”

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency is working to get a temporary communications tower to Region 26 after its dispatch tower was toppled due to 60 mph winds. Blaine, Garfield, Greeley, Loup, Sherman, Thomas, Valley, and Wheeler counties make up Region 26 and are affected by the loss.

Road closures, including Interstate 80 and U.S. Highways 30 and 20, have affected travelers and sent them to shelters. Big Springs and Sidney report that they have opened shelters.

“Road conditions are still not safe across the state and travel is not recommended,” said NEMA Assistant Director Bryan Tuma. “Stay home and be safe.”

Road conditions remain poor to impassible in many parts of central to western Nebraska. At this time, Interstate 80 is closed to westbound traffic from Grand Island to the Wyoming state line. Eastbound I-80 is closed from the Wyoming state line to Ogallala.

Keep up-to-date on other road closures by calling 511, visiting 511.Nebraska.gov, or by downloading the 511 smartphone app.

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