BEATRICE - A winter storm featuring bitterly cold temperatures and potential blizzard conditions is shaping up to hit southeast Nebraska later this week.

Gage County Director of Emergency Management Lisa Wiegand, and Beatrice Streets and Sanitation Manager Jason Moore talked about what they see coming.

“It does look like we’re going to have dangerous winds with some negative wind chill,” Wiegand said.

“We’re looking at high winds on Thursday,” Moore said. “If that holds true, with below zero wind chills, it could be a rough day on Thursday.”

Wiegand and those within Emergency Management are closely monitoring changes within the forecast. The group had a meeting on Monday afternoon and is warning people that even low snow totals could still mean dangerous conditions.

“As our forecast changes to a bit less snow, the winds are going to impact visibility,” Wiegand. “Take that into considerable caution.”

With wind gusts at upwards of 50 MPH possible, coupled with wind chills down to 40-below zero, Wiegend is not ruling out the possibility of power outages.

“Power outages are created by the high winds and branches and trees that may fall,” Wiegand said. “We hope we don’t have that, but we do send that message out that power could be going out.”

On Monday morning, Beatrice residents woke up to two inches of heavy, wet snow that lasted through late morning. Moore said it provided streets and sanitation with a warm up for what may come.

“It was a warm snow,” Moore said. “It was a 30-33 degree snow, that’s a slushy snow. It worked out really nice, we got salt down, got everything cleaned up by 11 o’clock [in the morning], and everything melted up real nice yesterday.”

However, due to cold, dry air, the way streets and sanitation may treat the upcoming weather, will be different.

“With our apex treated salt that we have, apex is our de-icing material, it lowers the salt melting point to high single-digits and low teens,” Moore said. “With that, we can use it on colder weather, but when it’s this far below zero we’re going to have to scrape things down the best that we can, and then put it down.”

The storm could be a pain for travelers heading into the holiday weekend. Wiegand says to exercise caution if required to travel.

“These conditions coming could create some dangerous travel conditions,” Wiegand said. “With this being a holiday weekend, where people are really on the road, we just caution people to plan ahead.”

And if you do need to travel, Moore talked about the ways to do so, while also letting streets and san employees do the work to allow for safe travel.

“It’s really nice to be able to stay back as far as you can from a snow plow,” Moore said. “The snow coming off our plows, it’s going to be a white out behind us. Whenever you have high winds, you want to stay home, but there’s going to be people who are going to say they have to get out, I understand, drive slow, pay attention to where you’re at, stay off your phones, and watch the plows… They have a gigantic blind spot right behind the plow.”