Southern Wisconsin expected to get hit with a snowstorm tonightWisconsin News
-- You’ve got all day to get ready for what’s expected to be the biggest snowstorm in at least two years in southern Wisconsin.
You’ve got all day to get ready for what’s expected to be the biggest snowstorm in at least two years in southern Wisconsin. The National Weather Service says we’ll have partly-to-mostly cloudy skies and dry weather during the day, before most of the Badger State will start getting snow tonight. Up to 17-inches are predicted through tomorrow in a corridor from Platteville to Door County, with lesser amounts in most other places – plus strong winds and heavy snow drifts tomorrow. Tod Pritchard of Wisconsin Emergency Management you may have to wait a long time for help if you get stuck on the road. He told the Wisconsin Radio Network quote, “You need to be self-reliant for the 24 hours or so that we go through this snow storm.” Pritchard says travel could be difficult if not impossible in some places tomorrow – and if you must drive, he says to keep your gas tank at least half-full, and let people know where you are. And if you don’t have an emergency kit for your vehicle, today’s the day to get one. Pritchard says it should include extra water, food, blankets, and a shovel. Officials want to avoid a repeat of February 2008, when up to 20-inches of snow stranded hundreds of motorists for hours on Interstate 39-90 south of Madison with no broadcast warnings about the tie-up. For those planning to stay home, Pritchard says you should stock up on extra food, liquids, medications, and baby items – and make sure you have a first aid kit, and a flashlight and batteries in case the power goes out.
Most places in Wisconsin should have a White Christmas, thanks to the big snowstorm that’s due in tonight and tomorrow. The National Weather Service says Appleton has had White Christmases 77-percent of the time since 1901 – meaning there’s at least an inch of snow on the ground. 10-to-17-inches are predicted for tonight and tomorrow along a path from Platteville northeastward into Door County -- while places just north of there, between La Crosse and Marinette, could get 6-to-10 inches. Southeast Wisconsin expects 4-to-6, while the Eau Claire region could get 2-to-5 inches. Freezing rain and thunder-snow are possible in far southern areas of the state. Appleton had no snow on the ground last Christmas – but in 2008, the city had an average snow depth of 17-inches, a record for the date. Meanwhile, Rhinelander probably won’t see its record Christmas snow depth from this week’s storm. The northern Wisconsin city had 28 inches on the ground in 1968 – and it’s had a White Christmas 94-percent of the time since 1908.
As a huge snowstorm zeroes in on Wisconsin, it might be comforting to know that the Badger State is rated among the best in the nation for public health preparedness. The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issued a new report today listing each state’s capability to respond to weather disasters, bio-terrorist threats, major disease outbreaks, and more. The report listed 10 key indicators of preparedness – and Wisconsin and four other states scored the most with passing grades of eight-of-those-10 indicators. Maryland, North Carolina, Vermont, and Mississippi also scored an eight. Neighboring Iowa scored six, while Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan each scored five. Kansas and Montana had the worst ratings, scoring well on just three of the 10 indicators. Paul Kuehnart of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says public health has improved by leaps-and-bounds since the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 2001. But he says large budget cuts at the federal, state, and local levels threaten to undermine that progress. The report said states were far from perfect in some areas. Only two have vaccinated at least 90-percent of kids against whooping cough – for which Wisconsin had a large increase in cases this year. And the Health Trust and foundation made several recommendations – including more funding for public health preparedness, and re-authorizing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, which expires at the end of the year.