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Arctic weather shuts down area: Closures the norm for local businesses and services

January 29, 2019
Beaver Dam postal worker Ofelia Welsch was all bundled up as she delivered mail on Norris Street during Monday's snowstorm. The National Weather Service warns of frigid temperatures and bitterly cold wind chills in the area today through Thursday. Widespread record low temperatures are expected.

Covered with a blanket of snow and threatened by subzero temperatures, many businesses and services across Dodge County were closed or faced delayed starts Monday morning.

By noon Monday, an estimated 6.5 inches of snow had fallen in Dodge County in a storm that began Sunday night.

Snow emergencies were declared in Waupun, Mayville, Lomira and Horicon. City offices were closed and meetings scheduled Monday night were canceled. Parking on city streets continues to be banned to allow safe removal of snow.

Despite the slippery conditions, Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuziger there were few traffic accidents.

“It has been going pretty well,” he said. “Most people are used to winter driving by now. It also helps that so many things are closed down and most people are staying home rather than going out.”

Several local medical clinics closed, with regular hours set to resume Tuesday.

Monday garbage pickup was canceled and Beaver Dam and Waupun officials both said garbage removal would be delayed one day all week.

Jim Diels, the foreman for the Beaver Dam Public Works Department, said snow removal went well on Monday.

“They got a good majority of it cleaned up. Our drivers did an excellent job with their cleanup, including the whole downtown crew that picks the snow up,” he said. “The public was reasonably cooperative: Traffic stayed out of the way of our snow removal, our trucks and everything else that was out.”

He said crews were set to be out early today to continue their work -- including getting to places where there were parked cars and other obstructions.

The Dodge County Highway Department issued a press release asking motorists’ respect and cooperation.

“Snow plow operators are experiencing more and more accidents and close calls with the same people and vehicles they are trying to help,” the highway department said. “Freezing rain, wind and heavy snow are some of the challenges nature delivers for these operators. They are part of the job and cannot be controlled. However, there are other challenges of the human nature that can be addressed and hopefully minimized or eliminated.”

Some of the common concerns plow operators face are:

Motorists driving too fast for conditions. Motorists following too closely behind a truck. Vehicles in blind spots or following too closely are a hazard. Drivers should stay back 200 feet.Undimmed high-beam headlights approaching or following a plow truck.Drivers passing plow trucks under slippery conditions. This is not recommended unless the truck is doing shoulder/ditch winging and the pavement is dry.Drivers in cars with uncleared windows or mirrors.Distracted driving.

Dodge County offices, including the court system, were closed Monday. All 24-hour operations such as the sheriff’s offìce, jail and Clearview Nursing Home were not affected by the closure and maintained their regular schedules.

Drivers are warned to plan for slippery road conditions. Patchy blowing snow can significantly reduce visibility. Hazardous conditions were anticipated to impact the morning or evening commutes. The latest state road conditions can be obtained by calling 511.

The snow will be followed by an arctic blast and officials are warning the public to prepare and to be cautious.

According to the National Weather Service, ways to prepare and stay safe include:

Stay indoors during the storm or prolonged cold spells, as prolonged exposure to the cold can cause hypothermia.Walk and drive carefully on icy sidewalks and roads.Before driving, let someone know your destination, route and expected time of arrival.If you lose feeling and color in your nose, ears, hands or feet, cover the exposed area, avoid rubbing your skin and seek medical help immediately.When shoveling snow, take breaks and lift lighter loads.Stay dry.

People also are encouraged to take care of pets. The Dodge County Humane Society will be closed Tuesday and possibly Wednesday, but said in a Facebook post that anyone who sees a dog, cat or farm animal that may be at risk may call the local police department or the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency phone number at 920-386-3726.

Those unable to provide indoor shelter for their pets may call 920-210-7329 or message the Humane Society on Facebook and volunteers will help keep those pets safe.

Meanwhile, the Wild Goose State Trail is open to ATV and UTV traffic from Highway 60 to Highway 49. Many county snowmobile trails are open as well. The trail status line should always be checked before riding the trails. A 24-hour trail status message may be heard by calling 920-386-3705. Trail information, including snowmobile and ATV trail maps, is available at dodgeparks.com.

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