Winter storm warning now includes Madison. Read how much we get and when it starts
The major winter snowstorm blowing through Wisconsin has prompted an expanded winter storm warning area to now include Madison.
The National Weather Service upgraded a winter storm watch in Dane County to a winter storm warning late Friday morning, which will run through 6 a.m. Saturday. In that time, Madison could see up to 7 inches of snow.
That much snow would make this storm the biggest snow producer so far this snow season.
The winter storm warning also covers, Crawford, Richland, Grant, Lafayette, Iowa, Green, Jefferson, Rock and Walworth counties.
Roads started getting slippery from snow cover even before the evening commute and got worse as the night went on with snow-covered roads and winds blowing up to 25 miles per hour.
To keep up with the expected accumulation, Madison Streets Division sent out a fleet of 32 trucks to plow and salt the roads continuously throughout the storm. Additional trucks were sent to spread sand on residential hills and curves that need material for traction but do not qualify for salt.
The salt routes include the city’s major thoroughfares, connector streets, bus routes and streets around hospitals and schools.
Madison Police Department went into limited crash response Friday evening, Lt. Scott Kleinfeldt said, where officers were only sent to serious crashes or crashes with injuries.
When deciding to limit crash response, “it’s usually because the roads are so bad that if we sent officers to every crash, then we wouldn’t be able to field all of our other calls,” Kleinfeldt said.
A snow emergency was not called Friday night, Streets Division spokesman Bryan Johnson said, meaning alternate side parking was not in effect in the Downtown snow emergency zone.
If more than 3 inches of snow falls, which would be enough for a general plowing operation of all streets, a snow emergency may be called for Saturday night and Sunday night.
Snow emergency details can be found on the city’s winter website at cityofmadison.com/residents/winter/. Snow emergencies will always be declared before 9 p.m. if it takes effect that night.
The snow is expected to start falling by 3 p.m. Friday, but we could see flakes as soon as 2 p.m.
“Snow amounts of 3 to 8 inches are expected across much of south-central, east-central and southeast Wisconsin, with higher amounts farther south,” the National Weather Service said in the winter storm warning.
“Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties could see 6 to 9 inches right near the Lake Michigan lakeshore, due to the lake effect,” the warning said. “Brisk northeast winds of 15 to 25 mph will cause areas of blowing and drifting snow.”
The winter storm warning is in effect from 3 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.
Severe winter weather conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible, the warning added.
“If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” the warning said.
Updated road conditions in Wisconsin can be found on the state highway travel conditions website at https://511wi.gov/map#:Alerts
As of noon Friday, 14 school districts south and west of Madison were closing early and some have canceled evening events.
Check the Channel3000.com school closing website for the latest information.
The snow should end Saturday, but the weather won’t be improving.
Bitterly cold temperatures are expected Saturday night into Sunday, with lows in the low single digits and wind chill values dropping below zero.
We could then see more snow early in the week.
The day-to-day outlook:
Friday night: A 100 percent chance of snow, low around 14, wind chills between zero and 10. Winds gusting up to 25 mph.Saturday: An 80 percent chance of snow, mainly before 9 a.m., high near 19. Wind chills between 5 below and 5 above.Saturday night: Mostly clear, low around 3. Wind chills between 10 below and zero.Sunday: Mostly sunny, high near 14.Sunday night: Partly cloudy, low around 2.Monday: Mostly cloudy, high near 20.Monday night: A 40 percent chance of snow, mainly after midnight, low around 17.Tuesday: An 80 percent chance of snow, high near 31.Tuesday night: A 30 percent chance of snow before midnight, low around 15.Wednesday: Partly sunny, high near 21.Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy, low around 10.Thursday: Mostly cloudy, high near 22.
State Journal reporter Shelley K. Mesch contributed to this report.