A big storm may impact people traveling to a big event in Wisconsin. As a major winter storm develops across northern and western Wiscosin, the state’s emergency management agency is keeping a weather eye on roads in the region. Today is a major travel day for Saturday’s annual Birkebeiner cross-country ski race.

“Over 10,000 people will be traveling to the Hayward-Cable area, so we’re very concerned about that, and that’s the reason why we’re taking extra precautions,” said Lori Getter with Wisconsin Emergency Management.

With areas of the state expected to receive in excess of 12 inches of wet, heavy snow, Governor Scott Walker declared a State of Emergency on Wednesday. Numerous school districts dismissed classes early on Thursday. “I’m not surprised,” said Getter. “Yes, we’re used to 8 to 10 inches, but this is a huge amount.”

Birkebeiner organizers were not anticipating any changes to the race or related events, but are taking steps to keep participants informed. “We did send out a big e-mail blast to all of our participants, encouraging them to go to our Facebook page,” said Birkebeiner promotions coordinator Susan Kendrick. “You can always call the Birkie office if you have any questions at all. We have a bank of volunteers there that are doing nothing but taking calls.”

The National Weather Service is advising those traveling across Iowa, eastern Minnesota or western Wisconsin Thursday and Thursday night to look into alternate plans. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation advises travelers check road conditions before leaving home by calling 511 or visiting www.wi511.gov.

WRLS contributed to this report 

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