Snow causes numerous minor accidents

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Shelly Birkelo
Sunday, December 8, 2013

JANESVILLE—Janesville's biggest snowfall so far this season resulted in slippery, snow-covered roads that caused runoffs and numerous minor-injury crashes in Janesville and area communities just before noon Sunday.

Light snow began falling Sunday morning and continued into the night.

Around 2.75 inches of snow had fallen in Janesville by 8:30 p.m. Snow accumulations were forecast to end before midnight, said Sarah Marquardt, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Sullivan.

But Monday's work commute won't be substantially better than travel conditions Sunday.

Weather conditions will not improve as winds pick up to 25 mph Monday, said Sgt. Shena Kohler, director of Rock County Emergency Management.

“The big problem we're going to have is drifting snow,” she said.

The last measurable snow in Janesville fell Nov. 25 when the city received 1 inch. Only traces of snow were recorded earlier in November, according to Gazette records.

Minutes after first reports of slippery roads at 11:36 a.m. Sunday, there were more than a half-dozen crashes, with minor injuries. The accidents backed up nearly 30 vehicles on Interstate 90/39 causing the Wisconsin State Patrol to shut down southbound lanes.

Troopers, Rock County Sheriff's Office deputies, Janesville police and fire responded to the Interstate between Kennedy Road and the exit at Highway 14. At least nine wreckers were requested and eight used, said Sgt. Brian Vaughn of the Janesville Police Department.

Throughout the afternoon and evening Sunday, other crashes happened in the area, including vehicles that slid into traffic light and telephone poles plus traffic signs, knocking them down. City public works crews were called in to make repairs.

Emergency responders were so busy that by 12:13 p.m. a dispatcher at the Rock County Communications Center was heard on the scanner asking if there were any available units to respond to a crash where a vehicle was leaking fuel and antifreeze.

City and county public works crews were out treating roads in the afternoon and into the night, Kohler said.

“We'll have emergency crews—four plows overnight—with the primary responsibility of Interstate 90 and 43 in Rock County,” she said.

The National Weather Service in Sullivan issued a winter weather advisory at 11:17 a.m. Sunday. It was to remain in effect until 6 a.m. Monday. The advisory for snow indicates periods of snow will cause travel difficulties with snow-covered, slippery roads and limited visibilities.

The city of Beloit declared at snow emergency for 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday. At those times parking any vehicle on a city street is prohibited. To learn what parking lots have been designated as official areas for off-street parking for residents to park their personal vehicles during a snow emergency, visit www.ci.beloit.wi.us or call 608-364-2929.

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