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Rural communities dealing with snow headaches

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WAHOO, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - Snow will make travel dicey late Friday night into Saturday. That's especially true in rural communities outside of the Omaha area.

From large snowflakes to strong wind, in Nebraska snow is a fact of life every February.

"Everything just kind of plugs up, nobody can get around and traffic comes to a stop," said Terry Miller, the emergency manager for Saunders County.

If you think the interstates get messy quickly, imagine what it's like driving on rural highways and back roads outside of Omaha.

"The roads become drifted a lot easier and icing occurs."

Miller would know, since he's the emergency manager. In the Wahoo area, people depend on those back roads to get from one place to another. It's never as easy as it seems.

"You never know what's coming your way or what's behind you coming your way."

Miller told FOX 42 News Friday when barriers go up and roads get shut down due to the snow, all too often people will try to maneuver their way around those barriers. He's now trying to find a solution to prevent people from traveling dangerously, but he says that's tough because some people are just too set in their ways.

"It's the concept of being invincible. They get their vehicles and think, well, that drift wasn't so bad and I can get through it."

Since last year, cities and towns in Saunders County have come up with a game plan to get to people in trouble. Emergency vehicles are now equipped with four wheel and even six wheel drive. There's also more room for equipment. For Miller, the next step now is figuring out the best ways to let people know which roads are not passable.

"We try to forewarn people. There are some electronic signs out there, but it's tough to reach everybody."

Saunders County does send out alerts using Nixle. That's an emergency notification system. Alerts are sent by way of text message or e-mail.

When it comes to traveling, law enforcement officers say it's always better to be a little more cautious during a winter system. If you see heavy snow and you don't absolutely have to go somewhere, don't try to.

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