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Winter Awareness Week in Wisconsin • Nov. 4-8

Preparing early for winter, can avoid trouble later on

The winter of 2018-19, was one for the record books in Wisconsin, with the state experiencing heavy snowfalls and dangerously cold temperatures, brought on by a polar vortex.

To help prepare everyone for what to expect in the months ahead, Gov. Tony Evers has declared Nov. 4-8, 2019, Winter Awareness Week in Wisconsin.

“The extreme cold felt across Wisconsin earlier this year, is a reminder of just how dangerous winter can be,” said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general and homeland security adviser. “Take time during Winter Awareness Week to make sure your emergency kits are fully supplied, have your furnace serviced and get your vehicle checked out, to make sure its ready for winter road conditions.”

Dr. Darrell Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management administrator, agrees.

“The time to get ready for winter weather, is before temperatures drop and snow is on the ground,” said Williams. “Getting prepared now could help save your life, or the life of a neighbor, during a winter storm.”

Winter emergency kits should include items such as food, water, a flashlight and batteries, and blankets. In a vehicle, include a snow shovel, extra gloves and hats, and kitty litter or sand, to help give wheels traction on icy roads in case the car gets stuck.

According to the National Weather Service, Wisconsin experiences an average of three to six winter storms during a season. Last winter, the Town of Saxon in Iron County, received the highest seasonal snowfall in the state, at 208.3 inches of snow. Saxon also reported the highest daily snowfall at 16.5 inches.

The coldest temperature recorded in the state during the 2018-19 winter season, was the Village of Butternut in Ashland County, which reported a reading of minus 49 degrees Fahrenheit Feb. 1, 2019.

Winter driving can be extremely hazardous. Between 2014-2018, the WisDOT says an average of 46 people were killed and almost 4,200 injured, each year, in crashes on icy or snow-covered roads in the state. On average, there are about 18,000 vehicle crashes in the state each year, caused by poor winter driving conditions.

“When bad winter weather is in the forecast, drivers should always check current road conditions before they head out,” said Williams. “If you don’t need to be on the road during a severe winter storm, then stay home. If that’s not an option, carry an emergency kit in your vehicle, drive slow in treacherous conditions, and let people know where you are going and when you expect to arrive.”

Travel conditions for most major roadways in the state, can be obtained by using 511 Wisconsin, which is updated with the latest traffic and road conditions. The information, along with live traffic cameras and traffic alerts, can be accessed through the free 511 Wisconsin mobile app, @511WI on Twitter or the mobile-friendly site 511wi. gov.