Cold rushes into southern Wisconsin

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Frank Schultz
Monday, December 4, 2017

Cold Canadian air is lashing southern Wisconsin after unusually high temperatures in recent weeks.

The icy blasts will bring more seasonal temperatures, with lows predicted to drop into the teens by Wednesday night.

People will need to bundle up, but with no significant snow in the forecast, the only weather problem drivers might face is the wind.

The National Weather Service warns truckers and drivers of other high-profile vehicles to beware of wind gusts that could push them around, so the rest of us need to be watchful for trucks being pushed out of their lanes.

The winds also could blow around Christmas decorations, the weather service warned.

Municipal crews might have to scramble to deal with blown-down trees and tree limbs, said John Whitcomb, operations director for the Janesville Public Works Department.

Farmers benefited from extended warmth to get tasks completed, such as spreading manure, said Nick Baker, agriculture agent for the UW Extension in Rock County.

“They also understand that we're on borrowed time right now, that we really are in a situation where we should be seeing below-freezing temperatures and frozen ground,” Baker said.

Most crops are harvested, Baker said, and when the ground freezes, farmers will be able to get to the few wet, low-lying fields they have avoided so far.

Another advantage to this flash freeze is that it's part of a thaw-freeze cycle that breaks up compacted soil, getting it ready for spring planting, Baker said.

Todd Thiele of Todd Thiele Roofing & Construction in Janesville said his company has wrapped up its shingling projects in time to avoid the weather shift.

Thiele said the warm November allowed him to get projects done that otherwise would have waited until spring.

“It definitely helps the bottom line of the business,” the longtime roofer said.

Thiele plans to keep his crews busy installing metal roofs over the winter once the dangerous wind gusts subside.

The Interstate 90/39 widening project in Rock County ended most road construction in November, but some work will continue through the winter, said project spokesman Steve Theisen.

In Janesville, crews will be removing bridges all winter, “so when the weather clears in the spring, we can build new northbound bridges over those roads,” Theisen said.

The bridges are over Spring Brook Trail, Milwaukee Street and Ruger and Mount Zion avenues.

Some work also will continue on the piers for the Rock River bridges in northern Rock County, Thiesen said.

Winter will stop the bridge work only if temperatures drop to minus 15 degrees, when construction equipment won't work properly, Theisen said.

With any luck, we won't have to think about that kind of cold until January.

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