Plowing out

The greater Jefferson County area was dealing with more snowfall on another holiday Monday. Before, it was Halloween, and on Nov. 11, it was Veterans Day. Pictured above, a Fort Atkinson Department of Public Works crewman plows the street alongside the American Legion Dugout.

The snow looked pretty coming down at Lambeau Field Sunday night during the Green Bay Packers game. But for anyone driving to work or school Monday morning, the slippery roads proved to be a challenge.

Another round of snow hit the area, with about 3 inches falling on most of Jefferson County. It marked the second autumn holiday on which snow has fallen ... Veterans Day. The first was Halloween.

While 3 inches does not sound like much snow, the addition has put the area almost a foot above normal for the season. The Milwaukee area for the season is now at 12.9 inches of snow and Madison is at 15.4 inches, said Paul Collar, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Milwaukee and Sullivan.

The slippery conditions lasted throughout much of the day Monday, with snowplow crews trying to clear roads in Jefferson County. But cold temperatures made the salt ineffective in much of the area.

The Jefferson County Highway Department reported that 21 plows were on the roads starting before midnight on Sunday. Superintendent Greg Koeppel said salt does not work below 15 degrees, and with temperatures dropping into the single digits Sunday night, the roads were slick.

“We got some of (our drivers) coming in for sleep,” said Koeppel. “And we are getting replacement drivers.”

Looking at the road temperatures, Koeppel said Monday afternoon that crews would stay out through the commute for residents heading home from work.

“We will have some good temperatures tomorrow morning,” he said.

The temperature will hit about 32 degrees, allowing salt to take the icy spots away.

County roads are in good condition, but there are some slippery spots on east-west roads, he said.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies reported 21 slideoffs and three injuries. Three vehicles were damaged.

At the Dane County Regional Airport, flights were delayed Monday heading to Chicago. In the Windy City, an American Eagle flight coming from North Carolina slid off the runway at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. None of the 38 passengers and three crew members were injured, according to the city’s aviation department.

More than 950 flights were canceled at Chicago’s airports and officials in the area opened warming centers. Snow, coupled with 30 mph winds, delayed 500 flights coming in and out of O’Hare and Midway.

And in Kansas, the highway patrol reported that a truck driving on the highway lost control on an icy road and slammed head-on into another truck, killing a juvenile in the other vehicle.

The arctic air mass that brought snow to Wisconsin stretched from the Rocky Mountains to northern New England.

Snowfall totals could reach up to a foot or more in some areas of Indiana, Michigan and Vermont, according to the National Weather Service. Other places in the path of the air mass saw ice and rain. Denver saw just a few inches of snow but suffered numerous accidents on icy roadways because the snow fell during the morning commute.

In Michigan, some schools closed early, as did dozens of schools in the St. Louis area.

The snow and ice was just the first punch from a weather system that pushed frigid air from Siberia across an area stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast. Temperatures below freezing were forecast as far south as Texas’ Gulf Coast.

“This is an air mass that’s more typical for the middle of January than mid-November,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Birk. “It is pretty much about the coldest we can be this time of year (and) it could break records all over the region.”

According to Birk, the lows on Tuesday possibly could drop into the single digits or low teens in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, with highs climbing no further than the low 20s. The forecast high of 21 degrees for Chicago would be a full seven degrees lower than the previous record set for Nov. 12.

In some areas, temperatures plunged quickly. Temperatures in Denver climbed past 70 degrees over the weekend, only to fall to 14 degrees early Monday.

One area where the low temperatures was particularly concerning was in central Wyoming, where officials were searching for a 16-year-old autistic boy who went missing wearing only his pajamas on Sunday, prompting a search that included certified human trackers, helicopters, dogs, and planes.

The National Weather Service said areas west of the Rocky Mountains would be spared the arctic air, with above average temperatures expected in some of those places.

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