WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | Weather

Wis. Emergency Management: Storm update

By: Wis. Emergency Management
By: Wis. Emergency Management
Latest emergency management update.

Snow-covered cars in a parking lot greet early morning risers in Madison, Wis. as a severe winter storm moves through the upper Midwest Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, John Hart)

From Wisconsin Emergency Management:

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at 4:00 am held an SEOC briefing to provide a statewide situational awareness update on the winter storm that is occurring. Statewide we are seeing a variety of conditions. Winds are still gusting 20 to 35 MPH from Eau Claire to the Illinois state line with peak gusts of 40 to 48 mph in Monroe between midnight and 2:00 am. It does appear that the snow has moved out of the state.

Utility companies are reporting 30,000 to 34,000 customers without power statewide and they are having difficulties reaching certain areas to make the necessary repairs. The highest area of outages is in Milwaukee area, Dane County, and the southeastern region of the state.

WING - Ten winter support force packages are still on standby. Staffing has been reduced on six of the units. The reduction will not affect the capability that can deploy. Ten armories are available to be used as shelters in response to power outages and the county emergency managers were given this information. At this time, none has been used.

Many state airports statewide are experiencing delays or canceled flights.

DNR wardens are no longer on standby but are available for call outs.

The Wisconsin State Patrol reported a couple of temporary road closures due to traffic accidents. On westbound I94 in Waukesha County near Pewaukee, a crash caused the road to be closed but it is now open. A semi jackknifed on I39 near milepost 167 and its fuel tanks ruptured spilling from 50 to 75 gallons of diesel fuel.

In Rock County at about 12:30 am, an ambulance transporting a woman in labor got stuck on highway 14 and Scharine Road. A second ambulance going to assist also got stuck. A third ambulance from Janesville being escorted by a snowplow was able to get through and make the transport. By 3:45 am, the other ambulances were removed but there were still other vehicles backed up on the highway.

WisDOT reported some road closures. In particular, in Walworth County, US 14 was closed as well as WIS 19 in Winnebago County from Oakwood road to Wall Street. The highway variable message signs are warning motorist of "high winds". Most road crews resumed full operations at 4:00 am.

Wisconsin Emergency Management is providing continuous information on the storm through its website and Twitter/Facebook dispatches along with the public information officer has provided information to 50 media outlets. A number of interviews are scheduled with morning news shows.

No further issues at this time - 5:00 am.

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The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at 8:00 pm held an SEOC briefing to provide a statewide situational awareness update on the winter storm that is occurring. Statewide we are seeing a variety of conditions. Holy Hill near Milwaukee reported 11" at 1900 CST. Middleton reported 19" at 1600 CST and more snow has fallen since. Winds are from the NW gusting to 30-40 MPH from Eau Claire to Milwaukee. Reducing visibilities, blowing snow, 2-6 mile visibility in areas where snowfall has ended. Visibility is being reported at .5 - 1.5 miles in areas where snow is still falling, primarily Madison to Wausau and areas east to Lake Michigan.

Utility companies are reporting 30-35,000 customers without power statewide and they are having difficulties reaching certain areas to make the necessary repairs.

WisDOT - The majority of road crews were pulled off most highways at 8 pm with the exception of the interstates. Full crews will be back out in early morning.

WING - Ten winter support force packages are still on standby. Staffing has been reduced on six of the units. The reduction will not affect the capability that can deploy. Ten armories are available to be used as shelters in response to power outages.

Many state airports statewide are experiencing delays or canceled flights.

DNR - Additional wardens remain on standby until midnight.

WSP - Southeast Region - Heavy snow is falling in almost the entire region. Only Kenosha Co is reporting good winter driving conditions. Washington County remains the most active area in terms of incidents. Highway 41 and 45 are in reasonably good shape but the on and off ramps are slippery. All counties reporting snow covered and slippery roadways along the major corridors. Increased winds have caused a substantial drifting problem. Overall traffic volumes are declining and incidents have been comparatively minor. Northeast - US 41 NB at Sales Rd north of Fond du Lac is open. Traffic is light, so both semis will be removed tonight. Northeast Region roads are snow covered/slippery, except I-43 in Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties, which has slippery stretches. Southwest Region - No blockage or restrictions on the system at this time. Northwest Region - We are experiencing drifting and glazing in Jackson County on I-94. Two semi-trucks had crashed at milepost 105 eastbound with complete lane blockage, which has been cleared. There were no injuries. North Central Region- Marathon County Sheriff called reporting the small plane may have went down. No plane could be located nor any reports of missing aircraft. We are experiencing most of our vehicle run-offs in the Wausau area on USH 51.

Wisconsin Emergency Management is providing continuous information on the storm through its website and Twitter/Facebook dispatches along with the public information officer has provided information to 50 media outlets.

No further issues at this time - 8:00 pm.

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The State Emergency Operations Center at 3 pm held a conference call with the National Weather Service (NWS) at Sullivan, WI. There is a blizzard warning for most of the southern half of the state extending up through Door County. The southeastern corner of the state and most of the northern half of the state are under a winter storm warning or winter weather advisory. From 7 am through the end of the storm another 6-8 inches is expected in most of southern Wisconsin with the exception of the counties along the lake which will get 3-4 inches total. Currently the rain-to-snow transition is a line from approximately Port Washington to Lake Geneva that is expected to move east and reach Milwaukee around 5 pm. Wind is expected to increase this evening culminating in gusts over 30 mph in the western part of the state and over 40 mph along the lake. Winds over 60 mph may occur in the Door County peninsula. Wind chill temperatures will be in the singles and teens throughout the state tonight and tomorrow. For more information check the NWS website.

Wisconsin State Patrol reports that there was a semi jackknifed on I-39/I-90 westbound (northbound) at mile marker 152 (just north of the Highway 51 interchange near Stoughton) in Dane County. Traffic is moving in the left lane. Units are at the scene. There have also been numerous reports from across the state of semis jackknifed. This indicates that roads are slippery and the high winds create an increased risk.

Power is out to 17,673 customers scattered throughout southern Wisconsin. More outages are being reported in southeastern Wisconsin as the snow line advances in that direction. All companies are working to restore power. The following is a breakdown by company:

Madison Gas & Electric: 2,060 in the Madison area
Alliant Energy: 9,835
We Energies: 2,834
Wisconsin Public Service: 2,944
Air operations reported that the FAA is not expecting any airport closures, but several airlines will be delaying and cancelling flights. Ohare is not sending flights to Wisconsin because the planes have not arrived from Wisconsin to reload.

Public information has been in contact with over 40 media outlets: radio, newspaper, and television including CNN. Updates have also been disseminated via social media with good feedback.

The State Emergency Operations Center is activated to Level 3. This activation includes Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and the Wisconsin National Guard. The incident is actively being worked in a continuous 24-hour cycle.

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The State Emergency Operations Center at 10:00 am held a conference call with the National Weather Service (NWS) at Sullivan, WI. NWS reports that there is a low pressure system that will cause easterly (from the east) winds along the lake. There is a band of heavy rain in the south and east transitioning to heavy snow in the north and west. Over an inch of rain has fallen in Milwaukee with over ten inches of snow in the Madison area. From noon to 3:00 pm temperatures will drop across the state from Dane through Jefferson County. Snow/rain and wind will be heavy throughout the southern part of the state all afternoon. From noon to 6:00 pm a line from Dane and Sauk north through Green Bay will get another 4-5 inches; from 6:00 pm to midnight possibly another inch. The Lake Michigan shoreline may get 3-4 inches total. Precipitation will taper off in the west around 10:00 pm, and along the lake closer to 4:00 am Friday. For more information check the NWS website.

Wisconsin State Patrol reports that there was a semi jackknifed on I-39/I-90 westbound (northbound) at mile marker 153 (just north of the Highway 51 interchange near Stoughton) in Dane County with total blockage. There was also a semi rollover on I-90 eastbound at mile marker 130 (near DeForest and Waunakee) with total blockage. Both accidents caused backups but have now been cleared.

Power is out to 7,635 customers. All companies are working to restore power. The following is a breakdown by company:
• Madison Gas & Electric: 2,328 in the Madison area
• Alliant Energy: 1,874 throughout south central and southwest region
• We Energies: 455 in Oshkosh primarily with a few along the lake
• Wisconsin Public Service: 2,978 mainly in Manitowoc and Two Rivers area

Air operations reported that the FAA is not expecting any airport closures, but airlines will be delaying and cancelling flights. O’Hare is not sending flights to Wisconsin because the planes have not arrived from Wisconsin to reload.

Public information has been in contact with over 25 media outlets: radio, newspaper, and television including CNN.

The State Emergency Operations Center is activated to Level 3. This activation includes Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and the Wisconsin National Guard. The incident is actively being worked in a continuous 24-hour cycle.


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