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Winter Storm Caused Closings, Traffic Backups

The winter storm that sat over the Milwaukee area on Tuesday and Wednesday dropped far more snow than originally predicted, leading to school closings and treacherous road conditions.

Update 10:45 p.m. Wednesday

The winter storm that started Tuesday and ended overnight Wednesday into Thursday was originally predicted to leave little impact. 

But conditions were just right for the storm to grow, and it ended up dumping wet, slushy snow that closed schools and made roads dangerous for several days. 

Patch media partners WISN 12 News said this storm didn't follow the predictions.

Computers and humans alike had originally predicted two to four inches of snow from this system, which earlier had buried the Plains states in a fresh blanket of snow.

However, some uncharacteristic lake enhancement took place late Tuesday afternoon, driving snow totals much higher.

"A humbling storm for all meteorologists in southeast Wisconsin," said WeatherWatch 12 chief meteorologist Mark Baden. 

"It was quite a storm," he said. "I think the most surprising thing about this storm was the amount of moisture it was able to transport."

Updated 11:10 a.m. Wednesday

The Oak Creek-Franklin School District has canceled school as a winter storm continued to move through the area Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Milwaukee County that remains in effect until noon Wednesday and then extended a winter weather advisory until midnight.

Patch's media partners at WISN 12 News said the highest totals will likely be over southern Milwaukee County and Racine and Kenosha counties. By 9 a.m., 8.6 inches had been reported in Franklin and 7.1 inches at Mitchell International Airport.

Oak Creek snow plows worked from 7 p.m. to midnight and were back on the streets at 4 a.m. Wednesday, Street Superintendent Mike Lampe said.

All 22 plow drivers continued to work through the mid-morning and will be out there as long as it takes, Lampe said. They have gone through their routes at least a few times each since the storm began Tuesday afternoon, he said.

Fans of the Oak Creek Patch Facebook page praised the Street Department's work.

Power was out Wednesday morning in an isolated area in Oak Creek due to a We Energies equipment problem, according to the We Energies outage map. The outage is located west of South 15th Avenue between Highway 100 and East Ryan Road. It appears that fewer than five customers are affected.

Traffic was slow on the freeways Wednesday morning, with slippery stretches and snow making travel more difficult than usual. According to the Wisconsin DOT's traffic map , freeways throughout the Milwaukee area are slippery.

The map shows traffic speeds varying from 30-55 mph between the Mitchell and Marquette interchanges on I-43/94. Traffic on I-94 south of the Mitchell Interchange generally moved at normal speeds, while it was slow-going on I-794.

In addition to Oak Creek public schools, private schools including Grace Lutheran and St. Matthew also closed today. The Oak Creek-Franklin School District has also canceled all activities and parent-teacher conferences, which were scheduled for this evening at the middle schools.

For more closings, visit WISN 12 News.

Many flights at Mitchell International are arriving and leaving on time, but there are some delays and cancellations. If you're planning to travel today (or need to get someone to or from the airport), check arriving flight status and departure status before you drive over.

Kathie Johannes February 26, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Zumba class is cancelled tonight at All Saints Church tonight at 6 pm due to weather conditions.
Mark Schaaf February 26, 2013 at 11:27 PM
thanks, Kathie.
livingintheOC February 27, 2013 at 02:23 AM
FYI, not really storm related but someone hit a deer last night near the bike path on Puetz. This is the second deer in just a few weeks so please slow down and look on in this area.

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