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Snow snarls traffic, makes for difficult travel Tuesday

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WAUSAU PILOT AND REVIEW

A major winter storm continues to impact much of Wisconsin with some areas seeing double digit snowfall amounts. Following the snow, bitter Arctic air will cover the state, bringing some of the coldest temperatures we’ve experienced in the last few years.

The National Weather Service is forecasting significant snowfall across much of central Wisconsin lasting through the overnight hours into Wednesday morning. The storm could result in up to 11 inches of snow along a line that stretches from Dane to Door County with up to five inches expected in Marathon County. Snow accumulation during the day on Tuesday should be lighter, but will intensify as we enter the evening hours.

Following the snowstorm, the National Weather Service is forecasting highs in the single digits for most of Wisconsin, beginning on Thursday and lasting into the weekend. Combined with wind chills of around -20˚F, people should be prepared for dangerous cold outdoors in the days ahead.

Some quick tips to follow:

If you must travel, allow plenty of extra time for your trip, cautions ReadyWisconsin. Keep at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle and inform friends and family of your travel plans and approximate arrival time.

Check the roads before you travel. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation advises travelers to check road conditions before leaving home by calling 5-1-1 or visiting www.511wi.gov.

Have an emergency winter weather survival kit in your vehicle. Your kit should include water, snack foods such as energy bars or raisins, blankets, a first aid kit and booster cables. If you have a cell phone, make sure you have a charger that works in your vehicle. You can find more kit tips at https://readywisconsin.wi.gov/make-a-kit/kits-for-your-car/

Get supplies for your home. Make sure your home emergency kit is stocked with food that can be stored and prepared without electricity. For a complete list of kit items go to https://readywisconsin.wi.gov/make-a-kit/kits-at-home/

During the bitter cold, stay indoors if you can. If you must be outside, wear multiple layers of clothing and make sure you cover your head, ears and hands.

Cold weather puts extra stress on the heart. Activities such as shoveling snow could cause a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.

Never run a gasoline, propane heater or a grill inside your home or unventilated garage. They can release deadly carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide causes headaches, dizziness, confusion and ultimately death. If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 and get out of the home immediately.

Frostbite can occur on exposed skin in less than 30 minutes. Symptoms include a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, ear tips and tip of the nose. If you see these signs, seek medical care immediately!

Hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature) symptoms include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness in adults and children. In infants, symptoms can include bright red or cold skin and very low energy. If you notice anyone exhibiting any of the symptoms of hypothermia, seek medical care immediately!

Pets also need extra care when the temperatures fall. They should be brought inside when the temperature reaches 30˚F with wind chill. Dogs and cats can get frost-bitten ears, nose and feet if left outside during bitter cold weather. Chemicals used to melt snow and ice can also irritate pets’ paws.

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