Wind Reminds Us That Winter Still Lingers
WAUKESHA COUNTY - You probably heard it overnight and surely felt it Wednesday morning - cold winds whipped through our area, making April feel more like January.
Temperatures hoovered around the freezing mark, but with the winds it felt more like in the teens. Don't put away the winter gear just yet either, because the cooler temperatures are sticking around for awhile.
Icy road conditions from an unusual spring storm that dumped up to 18 inches of snow in portions of far northern Wisconsin caused a two-car crash that sent eight people to the hospital, authorities said Wednesday.
The head-on crash occurred Tuesday afternoon east of Ashland on Highway 2 as heavy snow moved through the area, said Tony Williams, an investigator with the Ashland County Sheriff's Department.
The storm and slippery conditions were factors in the crash as the driver of one vehicle apparently lost control and crossed the center line, Ashland Fire Chief Wayne Chenier said.
At least three of the people in the vehicles suffered critical injuries, Williams said. No other details were released. A spokeswoman at Memorial Medical Center in Ashland did not immediately return a telephone message Wednesday.
Gile, just south of Hurley, received 18 inches snow, much of it lake effect, said Roman Berdes, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Duluth, Minn. Washburn had 14 inches and Ashland, 8 inches.
"For April, it's unusual," Berdes said.
School was called off in Ashland on Wednesday, Williams said.
"We are still getting light snow," he said at midmorning. "They just plowed the main roads. The back roads are almost impassible by just regular cars."
Jeanette Smith, 67, said conditions were "terrible" outside her Hurley home.
"The snow looks pretty, pretty deep," Smith said. "Probably more than a foot. And it is still snowing. Looking out my window, it is still coming down pretty thick."
She thought winter was over.
"We had a couple of nice, beautiful days," she said. "It teased us."
Further south Wednesday, Minocqua and Eagle River received 3 inches of snow, Wausau got about a half-inch and a trace fell in Green Bay, the weather service said.
As the storm moved through northeastern Wisconsin, strong winds produced gusts of 40 mph to 49 mph, and temperatures plunged to 28 degrees Wednesday morning, said Steve Fleegel, a meteorologist for the weather service in Green Bay.
"We lucked out in that we didn't get a lot of the heavier snow with it," Fleegel said. "It was kind of an unusual storm. Our normal temperature for this time of year in Green Bay is 49 degrees."
The forecast called for unseasonably cold temperatures for the rest of the week.
In the Milwaukee area, a storm that poured more than 2 inches of rain on Tuesday led to the dumping of an unknown volume of sewage and storm water from combined sewers in Milwaukee and Shorewood to local rivers and Lake Michigan.
Both the Milwaukee Health Department and Water Works closely monitored the quality of water drawn Tuesday from Lake Michigan into the city's two drinking water plants, Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan Baker said.
"There was no indication that the city's drinking water was affected" by the overflows, Baker said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.