Preparing for a potential winter storm; multiple closures across the Panhandle

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PANHANDLE, Neb. As the potential for a snow storm makes its way across the Panhandle, representatives from city offices and emergency personnel came together for a meeting to discuss safety.

The representatives from police, fire, medical, public works, utilities, city and county government attended this meeting where they watched a National Weather Service Webinar.

As of right now, city and county offices across the Panhandle with Scotts Bluff County offices are closed.

No visitation will be allowed on Wednesday or Thursday at the Scotts Bluff County Detention Center.

With traveling on roadways, Director of Emergency Management Tim Newman with Region 22 says that no one should be traveling on the roadways during this time.

“Travel is going to be almost impossible and we want to make sure our responders are safe,” said Newman. “We don’t want anybody going out and getting themselves stranded or hurt where we have to send out the responders.”

All law enforcement, fire, EMS and road crew personnel will be on duty. Any staff that is non-essential will be excused.

“Our snow plows will probably have to shut down during the heaviest part of this,” said Newman. “We are recommending no travel unless it is absolutely necessary.”

Newman says it is expected to see power outages.

During that time, every household and vehicle should have a survival kit.

Within each kit should contain three days’ worth of supplies, a flashlight, water, food, change of clothes and shoes.

“We always recommend that everyone be prepared to be on their own for 72 hours,” said Newman. “We preach that 365 days a year.”

Newman also states to have a fully charged cell phone and full tank of gas.

“You never know when something like this is going to happen,” said Newman. “It may not be a blizzard but it could be a storm. It could just be stranded. You run off the road in a remote area and no one comes down that road for a while. You need to have a kit in your car.”

Emergency personnel states that safety is their number one concern.

A determination will be made on Wednesday for a possible Thursday closure or opening of city and county offices.