La Crosse area braces for big blustery blizzard

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A blizzard warning is in effect for parts of Wisconsin including La Crosse County. La Crosse street crews along with the National Weather Service – La Crosse have been prepping for the big storm for a week now.

Over at the National Weather Service, it’s hustle and bustle. Meteorologists who are tracking the storm say the storm isn't to be taken lightly.

“The overall snowfall combination with that will likely create big drifts, cause major traffic issues, especially in the south and east of the La Crosse area,” says Todd Shea, warning coordination meteorologist with NOAA/NWS.

Shea says it’s the type of storm you’d see in Wisconsin every three to five years and one that requires more staffing at the National Weather Service.

“On a quiet weather day, our routine might involve three people,” says Shea. “Today we have probably six to eight meteorologists doing different things, we have to update and prepare.”

Shea says the goal is to get the message out that this storm will be strong; much stronger than the one that hit two weeks ago.
The National Weather Service is also the federal organization that issues watches and warning, coordinating with our meteorologists as well.
“A lot of times we’ll put the winter storm warnings, blizzard warnings out and then we rely on the television and radio and other partners out there to spread the word for us,” say Shea. “Kind of show the public out there where the warnings are laid out.”

he National Weather Service also works with emergency responders and street crews.

The street crews in La Crosse have been prepping for the storm all day Wednesday.

“We’re making sure all the salters and sanders are full, all the plows are hooked up, we’re bringing all our crew in at 4 o’clock tomorrow morning and we’ll commence in plowing the main arterial street in the city,” says assistant street superintendent of La Crosse Andy Bakalars.

In total, 35 plows will be out in full forcel, starting on the main streets, then onto the side streets and last will be the residential streets.

Bakalars says the street department is using its resources best it can.

“Pretty much with the street department, we don’t have any extra people. Everybody’s on the street, we have secretaries on the street, mechanics on the street,” says Bakalars.

And if you happen to see some snow plows while out on the road, he says do them a favor.

“Take a different route. We have a lot of people try to pass the plow. These guys are out there for your safety, take a different route,” he says.

Bakalars also says to remember alternate side parking rules so that plows can clean the roadway.

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