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Wisconsin’s Latest Winter Storm Leads Into A Stretch Of Bitter Cold

Warming Centers Opening In Several Wisconsin Communities Ahead Of Below-Zero Daytime Temperatures, Extreme Wind Chills

A boy screams as he and his sister hit a bump while sledding down a hill.
Jasmine Powell, left, sleds with her brother, Boden Hickman, the day after a heavy snowfall Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, in Janesville, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Wisconsin is bracing for some of the coldest temperatures of the winter following Thursday’s winter storm.

Parts of northern and central Wisconsin could see 9 inches of snow accumulation by Thursday evening. The snow, coupled with high winds, could make for slick roads and low visibility for drivers.

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Meteorologist Richard Mamrosh of the National Weather Service-Green Bay expects that, once the snow wraps up, temperatures will drop and wind chills will start to reach dangerous levels.

“Temperatures will fall to around zero across the northwestern half of the state to the single numbers elsewhere,” he said. “We’ll have wind chills anywhere from about 5 below zero in Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay to 20 below out toward Duluth.”

Temperatures are likely to fall even further this weekend, with daytime highs in the single digits above zero, and wind chills of 25 to 40 degrees below zero possible by Sunday.

“It was just inevitable that the cold air that was trapped up in Canada all through the winter so far would eventually come down here,” Mamrosh said.

Many communities are opening warming centers ahead of the cold snap and making efforts to identify individuals without homes who might be left out in the cold.

That includes Dane County, which held a news conference ahead of the storm Thursday to outline plans for protecting vulnerable residents.

Casey Becker, housing access and affordability director in Dane County, says the county and nonprofit groups have been adding capacity to shelters to keep more people out of the cold and allow for social distancing:

“And outreach workers from a variety of agencies are doing regular welfare checks to make sure people who are outside know about the shelter resources that are available and how to access those,” she said.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said because the cold could continue for some time, it’s crucial that agencies and nonprofit partners are on the same page, “specially when we look at transportation, coordination of emergency services, and watching out for our more vulnerable residents, be they elderly neighbors who might need a helping hand, or residents who are experiencing homelessness.”

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