Janesville19.4°

Danger continues with cold and wind

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
February 2, 2011
— With any luck, most everyone heeded the warnings and hunkered down overnight. Now it’s time to deal with Wednesday. “It’s going to be dangerous to be out tomorrow morning,” National Weather Service meteorologist Penny Zabel said late Tuesday.

Zabel said she wasn’t allowed to give specific advice, but suffice it to say that driving will not be a smart move most of today. Even walking should be done with care.


Snow should taper off before noon. As the wind and snow let up, the cold will settle in. Zabel said the high temperature today could hit 20, but then the north wind will blow temperatures down to around minus 9 tonight.


Skies will be clear tonight. The winds will ease. Frostbite will be the main concern, that and drifted or icy roads.


Rock County plows were pulled off all roads except the Interstates at 8 p.m. Tuesday and were scheduled to be back on the road at 4 a.m. today.


Don’t expect rural roads to be anything but treacherous, however. County public works director Ben Coopman said he expected to have to call out his “big dogs”— the larger plow trucks—to “punch through” large drifts that the smaller trucks can’t handle. East-west roads will be particularly hard hit, as the winds are out of the north.


“You’re just asking for trouble for you to leave wherever you are” till the blizzard is over, Coopman said.


A big-dog crew was on standby all night so that emergency vehicles could get to where they need to go, Coopman said.


Job 1 today will be to get one lane open in each direction on the main roads, Coopman said.


Coopman said it would take the rest of the week to get county roads back to some semblance of normalcy.


In Janesville, Operations Director John Whitcomb said that if all the snow falls as expected, the entire city won’t be plowed until late tonight.


Meanwhile, if you planned to go out to do anything today, even work, call ahead.


Janesville's Hedberg Public Library is closed. The Janesville Transit system announced Tuesday evening that it wasn’t yet sure whether it would cancel bus service today.


Trash and recyclables scheduled for collection in Janesville today will be collected on Wednesday, Feb. 9.


Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in the southern third of the state. He mobilized the Wisconsin National Guard, which sent 75 soldiers with “tactical vehicles” to armories around the state, including Janesville and Elkhorn, according to a press release.


“The nine manned armories will be available for use as backup emergency shelters, and the soldiers will be standing by to support local authorities with emergency operations such as door-to-door safety visits, generator assistance or strandedmotorist support,” according to the release.


Walker also declared a state of emergency in 29 southern counties. He ordered state offices and UW System campuses across southern Wisconsin to close.


The Green County Sheriff’s Office issued these words: “Monitor your television, radio or the Internet ... Those media outlets will have just as much information as you would receive if you called the sheriff’s department ... Check on your neighbors. ...Make sure that you have ready-to-eat food in case the power
would go out and enough supplies to get through a few days at home.


“If you need to travel and become stranded, make sure that you have a cellular phone, blankets, food and water. If there are no homes nearby, call for help and stay with your vehicle.”


The storm rolled into Janesville around 3 p.m. Winds blew snow furiously. Businesses and municipal services began announcing they were closing early.


Sheriffs deployed their fourwheel-drive vehicles and snowmobiles but warned their response could be slow.


At 5:30 p.m., the Dane County Sheriff’s Office announced roads were impassable.


Just about everything happening Tuesday night was canceled.


School districts such as Milton and Evansville announced early Tuesday that they would close on Wednesday.


The Janesville School District held off with its announcement until shortly after 6 p.m., which is about 11 hours earlier than Janesville officials have traditionally announced snow days.


Among the many delays today could be your newspaper.


“The Gazette does advise carriers, particularly those in rural areas, to cease delivery if they believe it’s unsafe to continue,” the paper announced. “Customers who do not receive a paper Wednesday will receive it as soon as possible. …


The Gazette E-Edition is available through Thursday at no extra charge at www.EGazetteOnline.com.

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