Ready or not, the first significant snowfall of the season is headed towards southern Wisconsin. The National Weather Service in La Crosse is forecasting a band of heavy snow will be setting up across Iowa on Friday, stretching into far southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois during the overnight hours. Accumulations in the heavy snow band of 5 to 10 inches are likely.
NWS meteorologist Rod Swerman said Madison – where the Badgers will host Northwestern at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday – could get 6 to 7 inches of snow. Fans are being advised to arrive early for the 2:30 kickoff against the Wildcats, and to dress appropriately for the winter conditions.
The snowfall will drop off rapidly north of the band, with little if any accumulation expected north of I-90. Swerman expects La Crosse could see as little as an inch, and the Dells just 2 to 3 inches. Eau Claire and most of west-central Wisconsin may see some flurries through the evening and overnight hours, but accumulation looks unlikely.
The Weather Service is not recommending travel in Iowa through Friday afternoon and evening, and southern Wisconsin on Friday night and Saturday morning. Roads will be snow-covered and slippery, and Swerman expects some blowing will make for low the visibility at times, especially in open areas., and a Winter Weather Advisory where less will accumulate.
In northern Wisconsin, the first wintry mix of precipitation caused several slide-offs and crashes Thursday night. Marathon County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jeffrey Stefonek said most of the traffic incidents occurred as roads became slippery and drivers weren’t prepared for it. “Precipitation turned to freezing rain and snow, and the roadways, especially the northernmost roadways and the roadways that get less sunlight started to freeze over. We had several cars sliding into the ditch on U.S. 51 northbound, and other areas that have patchy slippery spots.”
Most parts of the state that were without power overnight had it back on Friday morning, after high winds knocked out service to thousands of customers on Thursday. The state’s five largest utilities reported only 135 homes and businesses in the dark overnight. Wisconsin Public Service reported up to 6,000 customers out at the same time in central and northeast portions of Wisconsin. Wind gusts up to 51-miles-an-hour were reported at Monroe. The winds died down overnight, as a storm system in Canada got weaker.