Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 27, 1997)
keep university closed
UNL from page 1
homes in Omaha were without power
for much of Sunday. In Lincoln,
power outages were scattered from
block to block. While one neighbor
had power, another did not.
Lincoln Electrical Systems offi
cials said Sunday it would be one or
two days before Lincoln residents
would see their heat and lights turned
At UNL, falling trees knocked out
electricity on East Campus for more
than six hours early Sunday. The cam
pus generator was being repaired and
could not be used. Power stayed out
for IVi hours on City Campus before
LES reinstated service.
On the roads, Nebraska State
Patrol officials estimated that 200 to
500 motorists - including the
Nebraska Wesleyan Volleyball team -
were stranded between Omaha and
Lincoln along Interstate 80. They
could not estimate how many were
stranded west of Lincoln.
However, the state patrol had no
reports of weather-related traffic
The Nebraska Department of
Roads opened 1-80 late Sunday, but
Lincoln police closed northbound I
180 Sunday night, describing it as a
sheet of ice after temperatures
Streets in Lincoln’s core were
jammed with wet snow and scores of
fallen trees and branches, making
travel through neighborhoods almost
impossible for much of Sunday.
“The neighborhoods are just deci
mated,” Mayor Mike Johanns said. “It
looks like a war zone out there in
some of our neighborhoods.”
Greg Erixson, director of public
works, said after road crews plowed
all the major streets, they were head
ing to the neighborhoods. He said,
however, the plows would be forced
to plow around some of the bigger
fallen limbs until they could be
Officials estimate the unusually
wet, heavy snow caused hundreds of
thousands of dollars in damage to
trees and other landscaping at UNL.
Most of campus’ trees - with
branches bowed to the ground
beneath a thick blanket of white - will
not return to their original, upright
positions. Many of their branches will
snap before the snow melts, he said, r*
The damage could take several
years to repair, said Jeff Culbertson,
East Campus landscape manager.
“It looks pretty bad,” Culbertson
said. “So many people have con
tributed so much time to designing
this. In one night, (the snow) just pulls
it all down.
“It’s very sad.”
After a tour of the city, Robak said
the extent of the tree damage was
“The city looks like a tornado hit
it,” she said.
Trees weren’t the only troubles
throughout the city. Power outages in
Ashland stopped water pumps to
Lincoln. Johanns took to the airwaves
Sunday to ask people in the Belmont
and Air Park neighborhoods not to
shower or flush to conserve water.
Sunday afternoon, however, the
power was back on and water was
restored to all Lincoln areas.
The loss of power also made for
cold nights for many Lincoln resir
Dustin Claus, a senior philosophy
and classics major, huddled in the
basement of his house at 3301 N.
>rhood lost \
|_ ^ ^. !.m. Sunday,
and was not restored until late Sunday
night. To escape the cold seeping into
his house, Claus and his roommates
abandoned the house for the day and
stayed at a friend’s apartment.
“The thing is, our heater’s gas, but
the fan that blows the air is electric,”
Though a giant tree yanked a
thick power line across E Street,
Marinelle Burling’s house still had
power as she and her son shoveled
snow off the front steps at 1936 E St.
I thought something other than a blizzard
went through. This is like a tornado or
hurricane. I don’t even know where to start
with these limbs.”
Ocean current linked to Lincoln storm
By Erin Gibson
With weekend snowfall totals
more than doubling past records,
some meteorologists blame El Nino, a
warming period in the Pacific Ocean,
for the storm.
Others disagree whether the cur
rent, which scientists still struggle to
understand, can be blamed for the mil
lions of dollars in damage to the city.
But none deny a strong El Nino has
persisted in the Pacific since July, and
unusual weather in the United States
has followed the current’s appearance.
Since July, the U.S. Climate
Prediction Center has noted unusually
wet and cool weather conditions over
the northern Rocky Mountains and the
Great Plains. The pattern is typical dur
ing El Nino seasons, the report states,
along with abnormal patterns of tem
perature and precipitation worldwide.
The last El Nino season occurred in
1991 -the last year a significant snow
storm occurred in Lincoln in October.
According to the National Weather
Service, nearly 5 inches of snow fell on
Halloween night that year, accompa
nied by 40 to 50 mph wind gusts that
greatly reduced visibility.
More than a foot of snow fell
between 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
morning in Lincoln.
But forecasters predicted fewer
than 5 inches indie Lincoln area, said
Ken Hubbard, director UNL’s High
Plains Climate Center. Hubbard
points his finger at El Nino.
“With El Nino ... we’ve got a lot
of energy available” in the atmos
phere, Hubbard said. “And it seems to
have manifested itself in a pretty
According to the Climate
Prediction Center, El Nino originates
in the western tropical Pacific, when
easterly trade winds relax and a west
erly wind develops.
In normal conditions, trade winds
blow in the opposite direction, piling
up warm surface water in the west
Pacific about one-half meter higher
than in the east
As a result, normal ocean temper
atures are 8 degtCes Celsius higher on
the Pacific’s western edge than off the
South American coast. There, cold
water from deeper levels rises and
cools the surface.
Plentiful rains fall over the warm,
western coastline and South
America’s western edge remains dry.
But during El Nino, the changing
wind direction stacks warm water
against the east Pacific, causing heavy
rains along its South and North
American coastlines. This occasional
warming trend was observed as early
as the 1600s off the coast of Peru.
Hubbard said El Nino contributed
to Lincoln’sstorm, but many of its
effects are more subtle.
It may result in a warmer, wetter
winter, but El Nino hasn’t brought a
slew of record-setting, destructive
winter storms, he said.
Cathy Zapotocny, a National
Weather Service meteorologist,
agreed El Nino results in weather
changes, including increased precipi
tation in the Great Plains.
But she refuses to blame El Nino
for the storm.
“You get such a variety of weath
er, to say one event is caused by El
Nino, I wouldn’t feel comfortable say
ing that,” Zapotocny said.
Both Zapotocny and Hubbard
agree that heavier than usual precipi
tation has been predicted.
But El Nino likely will pile snow
more thickly on Nebraska this year,
Photos by Ryan Soderlin / DN
“I don’t think we expected this,”
she said. “They predicted it, but we
didn’t believe it.”
Burling admitted she wasn’t a
religious person, but this act of God
has made her believe.
“This is out of our hands,” she
Kevin Bergstrom, along with his
four roommates at 1804 F St., could
only watch as a big tree branch hit and
dented a car about 1 a.m. Sunday.
Trees were cracking and falling every
few minutes, he said.
Residents digging their cars and
homes out offJhe snow Sunday all
echoed each other: tornado, war zone,
“I thought something other than a
blizzard went through,” said Darrell
Dubry, whose chain saw Was making
firewood out of a giant tree branch
that had fallen on his neighbor’s
“This is like a tornado or hurri
cane,” he said, surveying the damage
down B Street. “I don’t even know
where to start with these limbs.”
Neither did Paul Bryngelson.
A tree on the south side of his
house at 1407 N. 21® St. fell onto his
roof and ripped off an aluminum gut
ter and chunks of roofing. Another
brushed his garage as it came down,
landing right where he normally
parks his truck. , ~
“I’ve been through tornadoes and
I’ve never seen trees downed like
this,” the senior biology major said.
After midnight Saturday,
Bryngelson came home from work
and heard the continuous sound of
branches snapping, he said.
“It was like gunshots. Pop. Pop.
Pop,” he said quickly. “It was like
Beirut or Bosnia or something.”
Without electricity, Bryngelson
said, he didn’t know what he would do
or how he would keep warm. He and
his wife used their gas stove to cook a
breakfast and keep their home a little
warm, he said. Maybe they would
play Monopoly until power was
restored, he said.
“I really don’t feel like studying I
As Lisa Knott brushed snow off
her car in front of her apartment at i
21st and Dudley streets, she explained r
how she wasn’t even supposed to be i
here Sunday. The senior political sci- 1
ence major at UNL was supposed to ~
spend Sunday with her family in
Manilla, Iowa, for her grandmother’s
80th birthday party.
“I guess Granny will have to have
her party another day,” Knott said
And Knott’s situation Sunday was
far from a party. Her electricity was
out. Her heat was out. She had to put
in her contact lenses by candlelight.
She also worried about her family.
Her parents drove as far as Atlantic, ~
Powered by Open ONI