Dig out now begins from yesterday's blizzardRegional Weather
-- The Upper Midwest now begins the process of digging out and getting back to normal from yesterday's blizzard.
The Upper Midwest now begins the process of digging out and getting back to normal from yesterday's blizzard.
Wisconsinites are digging out from one of the heaviest snow-storms in years. Twenty-inches fell just southwest of Madison at WISC-TV. Middleton had 19-and-a-half inches, and Beaver Dam 18. Hartford had 16 inches, and strong winds reduced visibilities to a half-mile. Portage had almost 16 inches. Many tree branches fell in Lake Mills under the weight of 15-inches of snow, and the winds produced drifts of up to three-feet. Platteville had 14 inches, and Neenah 11. The storm has headed east, and the Milwaukee area was about the only place where it was still snowing at three a.m. Winds remained strong, with gusts up to 43 miles an hour in Fond du Lac.
Power outages are still a problem. We Energies had almost 19,000 electric customers still in the dark as of three this morning, including 15,000 in metro Milwaukee alone. Wisconsin Power-and-Light said it had over 12,000 customers in the dark overnight – mostly in Fond du Lac, Walworth, and Dane counties. Wisconsin Public Service had over 2,200 customers without power overnight, mostly in the Green Bay and Chilton areas.
Madison set new records for the date yesterday for both rain-and-snow – which should tell you how slippery the roads are. State transportation officials said large trucks and commercial vehicles had unsafe travel conditions during the night due to the strong winds. Wisconsin has had two storm-related deaths, both in a Rock County crash west of Janesville on Wednesday night soon after the storm began. UW-Madison postponed its final exams yesterday, but they’re on for today and tomorrow. Most K-to-12 schools in the Badger State also closed yesterday.
Today, clearing skies are forecast statewide, with areas of blowing snow in the morning. Highs will be in the 20’s before the mercury falls into the single-digits above zero tonight.
In a relative winter storm sense, Minnesota got off easy compared to folks in Iowa and Wisconsin. The National Weather Service reports snowfall totals at eight-inches or less in southeastern Minnesota -- while the blowing and drifting snow over our borders was considerably worse. In fact, people near Madison, Wisconsin are digging out from around 20-inches of snow today. Minnesotans are experiencing a rather cold start to this first day of winter, with negative temperatures this morning in the western third of the state.
Winter officially begins with the continued closure of a major stretch of highway. Mn-DOT says Interstate-35 from Albert Lea into central Iowa will remain closed due to the blizzard which caused numerous accidents. The closure is about 85-miles of roadway from near the Minnesota border all the way to Ames, north of Des Moines.
Yesterday’s snowstorm did a number on court calendars throughout Wisconsin. Some major cases were delayed – the two biggest being in Madison, which got the most snow in the Badger State with 20-inches. The Fourth District Appellate Court was planning to rule on whether the state’s domestic partner registry is constitutional – but now, we’re not sure when that ruling will come out. The registry gives same-sex couples about one-fifth of the legal benefits of married couples. Also, a Dane County judge was planning to rule on whether wolf hunters could use dogs for the rest of the current season. The ruling is now scheduled for Jan. 4 – but the state’s inaugural wolf hunt could be over by then. Meanwhile, some major circuit court cases were also held up. A doctor in Rhinelander was supposed to be sentenced yesterday for possessing child pornography. But Bruce Jacobson will now have to wait until February 14th to find out what his fate will be. The same thing happened to 81-year-old Elmer Goetsch of Three Lakes, who was accused of recording movies of nude interns working in his home. He was supposed to settle his case with a plea bargain yesterday, but the proceeding was delayed until Valentine’s Day.