- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - It’s going to be a white Christmas Eve for parts of Nebraska and Iowa following some heavy snowfall in the region Thursday, though weather officials warn it may not stick around in some areas for long.

The National Weather Service said several inches of snow were expected on Christmas Eve in eastern Nebraska and western and central Iowa. Up to 6 inches is expected in Lincoln and Omaha as well as neighboring Council Bluffs, though some surrounding areas could see higher amounts.

“I actually had no idea it was supposed to snow at all today,” said Allisa Bahney, a high school teacher who woke up to the falling snow in northwest Iowa. “I actually kind of squealed.”

Other areas in the path of a heavy snow band could get between two inches and three inches. Weather officials said some or most of the snow in Iowa could melt by Christmas on Friday. Temperatures in central Iowa are expected to be in the mid-thirties by then.

“It’s going to be a white Christmas Eve for some and others it’ll be just a little bit,” said Robert DeRoy, data manager for the National Weather Service in Des Moines. “At least there’s some out there. You can still throw a snowball if you get home early enough tonight.”

It may truly be a white Christmas for parts of northwest Nebraska, where several inches of snow are expected to fall Friday into Saturday.

The snow comes as both Nebraska and Iowa experienced warmer-than-usual weather in December.

“It’s been much warmer than it normally is this time of year leading up to the Christmas season,” said Scott Dergan, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Omaha. “Just like Iowa, it’s been much warmer than normal. We’ve had green grass and all that stuff.”

Officials warned drivers that freezing rain will create slippery roads and worsen travel visibility. In Lincoln, officials deployed machinery Thursday to plow on snow emergency routes, major roads, bus routes and school routes. Some businesses, including Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, closed due to the inclement weather.

The weather is a stark contrast to other parts of the country. In the South, spring-like storms mixed with unseasonably warm weather have been linked to at least seven deaths. From Alabama to New York, much of the country had unusually warm temperatures that reached into the 70s on Christmas Eve.


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