Initial forecasts predicting four to eight inches of snow to fall on May 1 and 2 are proving to be on the low side. Forecasters now say up to 18 inches of snow could fall in some parts of northwest Wisconsin.
Ellsworth, in Pierce County, had already received 14 inches by early this morning, while close to 11 inches fell near Hayward and 12 inches in Rice Lake. The National Weather Service predicts the heaviest snow will end up in areas of Ashland, Bayfield, Washburn, and Sawyer counties. Locations to the south could get more than expected. Buffalo County, northwest of La Crosse, could get up to 11 inches by the time the storm ends Thursday night.
This is a heavy, wet snow in many places, which is conducive to power outages. X-cel Energy had around 3,000 customers without power in northwest Wisconsin. A number of schools closed their doors, including Menomonie, Rice Lake, and River Falls.
The Wisconsin State Patrol is investigating whether a fatal traffic crash near Menomonie was weather related. Two semi-trucks collided in the same direction and one of the drivers died.