Ice storm update: If you don’t have to drive, stay put.
Update: Madison streets are ice covered and very slippery, so drivers are urged to use extreme caution if on the streets, especially in residential areas. Any sand put down could be covered with new ice or snow, limiting the sand’s effectiveness.
Streets crews are pulling back on collections on the West Side so more effort can be made fighting the ice storm.
Rock County is advising everyone to keep off the roads because of the extremely hazardous conditions, which might get worse as the day goes on, especially with falling temperatures and increasing winds.
All highways in Wisconsin, except in the southeast corner, are either ice covered, snow covered, or have slippery stretches.
Power has stayed on in most areas of southern Wisconsin, with Alliant Energy reporting about 800 customers out in Walworth County, and more in far eastern Iowa. Madison Gas and Electric reported no power outages as of noon.
A wicked winter storm full of every sort of precipitation has closed schools throughout Wisconsin and made skating rinks out of highways Thursday morning, with the bulk of the storm still to come.
The Dane County 911 Center said things were quiet as of 7:30 a.m., with only a few minor crashes and slide-offs reported, but changing road conditions could make for a busy Thursday.
“It’s not too bad yet,” a dispatcher said.
Over 130 public school districts and private schools all across southern Wisconsin were shut down Thursday, including the Madison suburban districts in Middleton-Cross Plains, Monona Grove, McFarland, Oregon, Stoughton, Sun Prairie, Verona and Waunakee.
Madison public schools are open, but most private schools are closed.
Madison’s main streets were in good shape, since salt trucks stayed out all night to keep ahead of the ice.
“The streets are looking OK,” said Streets Division spokesman Bryan Johnson. “We’ll keep the trucks out on the salt routes throughout the day.”
The city has 32 salt routes, including the major thoroughfares, bus routes and streets near hospitals and schools.
The city also sent a dozen sand trucks to residential neighborhoods to put sand down on areas prone to icing up.
Free sand is available at a number of locations throughout Madison, find it at http://www.cityofmadison.com/residents/winter/SnowIce/sand.cfm
The possibility of heavy ice could cause major problems with downed trees and power lines, but as of 8 a.m., Alliant Energy only had about 930 customers without power, in the Delavan and Lake Geneva area, while Madison Gas and Electric had no reported outages.
Two flights from Dane County Regional Airport were canceled Thursday morning, American to Charlotte and Phoenix, but all other incoming and outgoing flights were sticking pretty much to schedule.