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As snow falls Tuesday, construction workers walk south on a closed 13th Street at the Gene Leahy Mall and future site of the riverfront revitalization project. Eastern Nebraska was spared the heavy snow that hit the central part of the state.

Grand Island and Hastings set records for snowfall Tuesday as a major storm rolled through Nebraska. Cities in the eastern part of the state fared much better.

Grand Island received 8.2 inches of snow, breaking the previous mark for the date of 4.9 inches, which was set in 1978. Hastings recorded 7.1 inches of snow, eclipsing the 4 inches that fell in 1944. 

Cliff Cole, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in North Platte, said Wednesday that the central Nebraska cities were recipients of "a second wave of snow"  that blew out of Denver. North Platte reported 7 inches of snow, just shy of the record of 7.2 set in 1919. 

"The first wave of snow went through Cheyenne (Wyoming) and into the (Nebraska) Panhandle," Cole said. "We have unofficial reports of 12 inches of snow in Kimball."

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Eastern Nebraska got off easy, according to meteorologist Hallie Bova of the Nebraska Weather Service office in Valley. Eppley Airfield in Omaha reported less a half inch of snow, mostly sleet, with Valley recording 1.9 inches. 

"Farther north, Norfolk unofficially had 6 inches while there were reports of 9 inches in Verdigre and 10 inches in Newman Grove," Bova said. "There was a sharp gradient (downward) as the storm moved east."

Wednesday is expected to be dry in eastern Nebraska, with a high temperature of 32 in Omaha, Bova said. A "wintry mix" is forecast for the Omaha area on Thanksgiving Day, with small amounts of snow accumulation. 

"Of course, anything on a high travel day can cause problems," Bova said. 

The forecast for Friday in Omaha calls for temperatures to rebound into the 40s. A high of 49 is predicted for Saturday. 

Cole said meteorologists are keeping a sharp eye on a larger storm forming in the western U.S. That storm could punish the Nebraska Panhandle with winds gusting "close to 65 mph," he said. 

"It will bring precipitation Thursday and Friday," he said. "The snow will probably go through South Dakota and northern Nebraska."

kevin.cole@owh.com, 402-444-1272