A strong winter storm began making its way across the Upper Midwest on Tuesday, creating treacherous travel conditions and spurring warnings urging people to stay off the roads. The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for parts of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, the AP reports. By Tuesday morning, snow was so heavy in western Nebraska that Interstates 80 and 76 were closed for several hours in both directions after numerous accidents, and the Nebraska Department of Transportation warned people to avoid unnecessary travel. "Conditions remain hazardous & we anticipate they will remain so all day Tuesday. Please avoid travel," the department said on Twitter. Police in Omaha reported several accidents blamed on slick roads. Some parts of Nebraska had already seen 3 inches of snow by mid-morning, and the area near Creston, Iowa, had 5 inches of snow.
Snowfall of up to a foot was forecast in parts of Iowa, where the Department of Transportation urged people to delay travel. The department's road conditions map showed most highways in the western part of the state covered or partly covered with snow by midday Tuesday. "Travel conditions are likely to go downhill all day/night," the department said on Twitter. By 1:30pm, snowfall was heavy, causing visibility problems for motorists and rapidly deteriorating road conditions and crashes across the state, Iowa State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Alex Dinkla said. "All our troopers are very busy right now," he said. Des Moines had more than 200 employees on snow removal duty. Public Works Director Jonathan Gano said 100 snow plows, trucks, and other equipment were activated to 24-hour operation until the snow stops. “We’re looking at 8 inches followed by some ice, so that’s going to be a wonderful complication," he said.
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