Janesville25.3°

Winter storm forces cancellations, several accidents

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GINA R. HEINE
December 1, 2007
— Wisconsinites know how to drive in snow.

But maybe not during the first couple snowfalls of the year.


“It always takes a snowfall or two for folks to get their winter wheels under them,” said Janesville police Lt. Keith Lawver.


Saturday’s snowstorm, followed by sleet and rain, contributed to numerous runoffs and other minor low-speed accidents in Rock and Walworth counties, authorities said. Many people heeded the warnings, however, and no serious injuries were reported, Lawver said.


Janesville police reported about 10 accidents Saturday and about 10 runoffs. The Rock County Sheriff’s Department reported about 15 minor accidents during the day shift while assisting with six to eight accidents on Interstate 90/39, Sgt. Ken Marquardt said.


“(People) just need to slow down and get accustomed to the road conditions before they move forward,” he said.


The Wisconsin State Patrol reported numerous runoffs on Interstate 90/39 in Rock County, but could not provide any details. No serious injury accidents were reported.


One fatal accident did occur in Dane County near DeForest, according to the State Patrol. A 37-year-old Madison man died after the Jeep Cherokee he was driving rear-ended an eastbound semitrailer at 11:54 a.m. on Interstate 90/94/39. The driver of the semi, Wayne A. Brouwer, 69, Edgerton, was not injured.


The wintry mix forced cancellations and postponements across the board from the Janesville Parker boys and girls, and Craig girls basketball games, and Bluebird hockey game to a concert at the Janesville Performing Arts Center.


Snow totals came in at 4 inches near Evansville and 3 inches in Milton, said Tom Zaj-del, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sullivan.


Freezing rain and sleet was expected to continue at least through midnight Saturday, with ice accumulations between one-quarter to one-half inch, he said.


“We might be looking at the possibility of some power lines coming down and tree branches,” he said Saturday.


Power outages didn’t hit Wisconsin hard as of press time, with only about 250 customers out of power in Rock and Walworth counties, Alliant Energy spokesman Scott Reigstad said.


A winter storm warning for southern Wisconsin was in effect until 6 a.m. today.


Drizzle is expected this morning with light rain and snow in the afternoon, Zajdel said. Temperatures will drop to the 20s by afternoon and remain in a cold snap through the early part of the week, he said. Highs are expected in the mid-20s with lows in the single digits, he said.


Dozens of flights were canceled at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee and at Dane County Regional Airport in Madison.


An incoming Mesa Airlines regional jet flying for United Express slid off the pavement after failing to make a turn onto a taxiway at Dane County airport, but no injuries were reported among the 25 passengers, United Airlines spokesman Jeff Vick said.


Poor conditions, however, made for great business for food deliverers.


Taylor Stewart wasn’t scheduled to work Saturday at Papa John’s pizza, 401 N. Parker Drive, Janesville, but was called in at noon. He said once the lunch hour and snow hit, the business had more deliveries than Monday through Wednesday combined.


Delivery time hit about 1 hour and 15 minutes around dinner time, he said.


“It got pretty insane,” he said.



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