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The winter storm that is expected to make Nebraska miserable Wednesday night and Thursday could create blizzard conditions in Iowa.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard watch for much of central and north-central Iowa from Thursday morning to Friday morning. If you are planning to travel Thursday into Iowa, check forecasts and consider your options.
Travel in Nebraska could be periodically difficult, too.
In central Nebraska, a combination of snow and wind could create white-out conditions Wednesday night into Thursday morning, according to the Hastings office of the National Weather Service.
In eastern Nebraska, the snowfall and winds are expected to peak during the morning rush hour.
Scott Dergan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the Thursday morning commute is likely to be a mess in Omaha, with the snow and gusty winds reducing visibility.
Because the snow is forecast to be wet and heavy, it's not expected to create similar visibility problems during the evening commute, even though winds will be stronger, Dergan said.
Dergan said central Iowa is likely to be hit harder than eastern Nebraska because it is in the heart of the storm's path. As the storm moves through Iowa and into Wisconsin, it's expected to intensify, he said.
Additionally, Iowa is better positioned than Nebraska to pick up moisture streaming northward from the Gulf of Mexico, Dergan said.
Whether one is in Nebraska or Iowa, Dergan said, people should monitor forecasts. Conditions could change as the storm moves in.
Potential problems Thursday in Iowa include snowpacked roads, reduced visibility, strong winds and power outages, according to the Des Moines office of the weather service.
Like eastern Nebraska, Iowa is expected to see rain Wednesday night.
By Thursday morning, the rain is expected to shift to snow, with 3 to 7 inches of snow falling during the morning commute in Des Moines.
Thursday afternoon and evening, winds are forecast to reach 25 to 35 mph and gust to more than 50 mph in Iowa.
This combination of heavy, wet snow from earlier in the day and powerful winds could lead to power outages, according to the weather service.
Winds in the Omaha area are likely to pick up Thursday afternoon, too, but aren't forecast to exceed 35 mph. The Omaha area is expected to get 1 to 3 inches of snow Thursday.