We talk a lot about winter in Nebraska, and for good reason — it can be pretty hard to get through some years. Whether you’re a Nebraska native or you’ve just moved here, there are some very important things to know about surviving winter here without losing your mind (or ending up with a damaged car).
1. The temperatures —
especially the wind chill — are nothing to trifle with.
When the weather forecast says the wind chill is going to be in the double negative digits, pay attention and cover up every inch of skin possible. Even if you're only outside for a couple of minutes, that cold gets really, really painful.
2. You're probably not getting a snow day.
Most towns are pretty well prepared for the snow and ice, so getting a day off from school or work is rare unless the storm is truly epic.
3. Before a storm, the stores will be packed with people stocking up on bread, milk, eggs, and toilet paper.
This is so they can make French toast and decorate their homes with toilet paper streamers while they're stuck indoors, right?
4. Put your wipers up when you park for the night.
You'll be so grateful you did when you come out the next morning to find your windshield buried in snow-covered ice. New Nebraskans, take note: that "advice" you see on Facebook about pouring boiling water on your windshield to melt the ice is just a prank. Your windshield will crack, and then it'll freeze, and you'll have a very bad day. (You're welcome.)
5. If your town tells you not to park on the street so plows can get through, pay attention.
Otherwise, you'll find that the snowplow drivers have taken special care to pile up the heavy street snow around your car. They do it partially because there's nowhere to put it and partially because you kind of deserve it for not observing the parking regulations.
6. Shovel your sidewalk!
Yeah, it's a hassle, but leaving it covered in snow is inconsiderate and dangerous. Pay the kid next door $5 to do it if you just can't manage.
7. Don't forget the ice melter.
In my house, we buy a couple of buckets of it before the first snow so we always have it on hand. It's one of the best winter tools out there, and it helps prevent painful falls on the ice.
8. Invest in a really good ice scraper/snow brush.
It's always sad to see that unprepared person in the parking lot after work trying to scrape off their windshield with a credit card or some random piece of garbage from their car.
9. Always clean off your car before you head out in the morning.
Nobody likes to be behind the person who didn't take the extra couple of minutes to brush the snow off of the top of their car. It's pretty scary to be blinded by snow flying off of someone else's car roof. (It kind of seems like the car in this picture isn't going anywhere anytime soon, though!)
10. Layer, layer, layer.
Temperatures can change in the blink of an eye in the midst of a Nebraska winter, so it's best to be prepared for anything.
11. Assume that other drivers have never driven in the snow before.
It never fails: after the first snow or two of the year, everyone forgets how to drive in it. Be extra vigilant out on the road so you can avoid any unfortunate incidents.
12. Always be prepared with a winter emergency kit.
Fill up a small plastic tote with jumper cables, ice melter, an extra ice scraper, first aid kit, extra gloves and hat, an emergency thermal blanket (or "space blanket") and kitty litter. Throw a small snow shovel in the trunk, too. It's better to be over-prepared than underprepared, and you'll probably need all of these items eventually.
13. Don't let the snow and cold keep you inside all winter!
Sure, it's easier (and arguably more pleasant) to play outside in the summer. But it's a whole different world out there when everything is quiet and covered in snow. It's really quite beautiful, so bundle up and enjoy it.
Follow this advice and you’ll find winter a whole lot easier to survive and even enjoy. If you’re at a loss for things to do this winter, check out our ultimate
Nebraska winter bucket list.