A cold, wet and windy afternoon is bound for the Omaha area. As conditions deteriorate, a winter storm and powerful winds could make travel dangerous on Nebraska and Iowa highways.
Around Omaha and Lincoln, light rain is forecast to shift over to snow by early evening, said Van DeWald of the National Weather Service.
Winds will accelerate as a cold front descends, he said.
The worst of the travel conditions between Omaha and Lincoln are likely between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., so commuters would do well to leave work a little early, avoiding a likely cross-wind on area interstates.
"It wouldn't be a bad idea," he said.
Much worse conditions are forecast farther west this afternoon in Nebraska and then farther north in Nebraska and Iowa.
In central Nebraska, northwest winds blowing at 40 mph and gusting to nearly 60 mph will cause problems along Interstate 80. A wind warning there is set to expire this evening.
The worst of the I-80 winds are forecast for the stretch between Kearney and North Platte.
North of the Omaha area, a winter storm warning is in effect, so travel could be difficult on Interstates 29 and 35. Strong winds and blowing snow are likely to cause visibility problems and slick areas.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for northeast Nebraska and northwest Iowa because of the potential problems. AccuWeather Inc., The World-Herald's private weather consultant, also is advising caution.
DeWald said travel east of Omaha on I-80 could remain difficult into the evening.
By Friday, skies should begin to clear in the metro area. Warmer air will move in, but wind gusts will continue. Another cold front could bring another storm to the region Sunday into Monday.
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