WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Record lows reported in Antigo and Green Bay
Believe it or not, temperatures in much of northern Wisconsin rose by 10-to-15 degrees early this morning. In Rice Lake, it was nine-below at seven o'clock. That was 15 degrees warmer than just three hours earlier, as a new weather system moves in with southerly winds. It's still frigid, to be sure. Rice Lake's wind-chill was minus-25 as the sun was about to rise. The National Weather Service said Antigo and Green Bay set new record lows for this date. It got down to minus-25 into Antigo, breaking the old mark of 22-below set in 1979. Green Bay fell to 18-below, not including the wind chill. That's one degree colder than the old mark set in 1887, 1911, and 1979. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Public Service Web site shows no more power outages as of 7:15. That was after 55-hundred customers were listed as being out during the night in parts of far northern Wisconsin. Alliant Energy, which had its Web site down early today, had only a couple outages as of seven a-m. Forecasters say it will be warmer today and tomorrow, with highs in the teens-and-20's with a chance of light snow and freezing drizzle. On Sunday, it's supposed to get much colder, with wind chills dropping into the minus-50's in some places.
Gas prices are still creeping up in Wisconsin, but relief appears to be on the horizon. Crude oil futures dropped by three-dollars a barrel yesterday, as U-S benchmark crude for February deliveries dropped to 95.44-a-barrel in New York. That's after crude oil jumped above 100-dollars in recent weeks. The Triple-"A's" statewide average for regular unleaded held about steady from yesterday at 3.24-9 per gallon. That's up by three-and-a-half cents from a week ago, and it's up a dime over the past month. Experts say part of the increase is due to a reduction in fuel inventories, to help oil companies cut their tax bills for last year. Oil market analyst Jim Ritterbusch of Galena Illinois says gas prices should bounce between three-dollars and 3.40-a-gallon until spring -- when prices normally rise due to a change to summer fuel blends. Barring flareups in the Middle East, Ritterbusch says we should see a relatively steady oil market for 2014. For now, he does not expect prices to jump to four-dollars.
Wisconsin has recorded its fourth snowmobile death of the winter. The victim was identified yesterday as 68-year-old Judi Nykaza of Grayslake Illinois, northwest of Chicago. Jackson County sheriff's deputies were called Tuesday night about a missing snowmobiler near Millston. They said Nykaza was riding with two others when she got separated from the group. Deputies and volunteers searched the area for over two hours, before passers-by reported finding the woman. Nykaza was revived with C-P-R and a defibrillator, and was taken to a Black River Falls hospital where she died.
A cocktail lounge started on fire overnight in downtown Waterford. Racine County deputies were called to Martini Mo's just after 3:35 this morning. Officials said a large amount of smoke appeared to originate in the building's basement. No injuries have been reported. Fire crews remained on the scene during the seven o'clock hour, and a detour was set up to keep motorists away from downtown Waterford.
A Wisconsin-based accounting firm has acquired a suburban Chicago outfit. Wipfli of Wauwatosa has bought The Condon Group of Tinley Park Illinois. It has 20 partners and associates, serving mainly wealthy individuals and privately-held businesses. It specializes in accounting services for manufacturing, real estate, and construction firms. The acquisition gives Wipfli 22 offices in the U-S, plus two in India. Those offices have over 12-hundred total employees.
The state D-N-R will pay landowners, in an effort to open up more land for turkey hunting in southeast Wisconsin. Officials are starting a pilot program in which landowners will get five-dollars-an-acre if they promise to make their land available for the spring turkey hunts in 2014, '15, and '16. It applies to property in Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, Walworth, Kenosha, and Racine counties. The D-N-R says it will give preference to sites of at least 40 acres, where at least half the properties are forest land. Landowners have until January 31st to sign up. More information is available on the D-N-R's Web site, accessible at Wisconsin-Dot-Gov.
____________________Only one Wisconsin school district that was supposed to open today stayed closed during the bitter cold. Mellen schools in Ashland County were closed because of a broken water main. Several other school systems started classes two hours late -- smaller districts like Lomira, Wabeno, Sparta, and Westby. The Milwaukee Public Schools and a number of others throughout Wisconsin are still on their holiday breaks. They may or may not re-open on Monday, depending on how cold it gets. The National Weather Service says it's supposed to warm up today and tomorrow with light snow and possible freezing drizzle. A strong cold front is expected to go through Wisconsin tomorrow, leaving behind some of the coldest the state has seen in years. The Weather Service says the entire state can expect 20-to-30-below temperatures by Monday morning, with wind-chills of 40-to-55 below. Right now, we expect three nights of that, before its gets warmer at mid-week.
_____________________ A newspaper carrier in Kenosha started the New Year by saving an elderly woman's life. Ralph Sustaita was delivering the Kenosha News when he heard a woman's voice -- and he then saw the woman lying in the snow. The man wrapped a jacket around the woman -- who's said to be in her 80's -- and he then called for help. The newspaper says she appears to be recovering from frost-bite and hypothermia. Sustaita told WITI T-V in Milwaukee that the woman sounded lost and confused. Police said she lives close to where she was found -- and she had gone out for a walk.