The snowstorm yesterday dumped nearly 20 inches of windblown snow on southeastern Wisconsin and left hundreds of motorists caught in massive traffic backups while bringing schools, buses and airports across the region to a standstill.
On Wednesday morning, many Milwaukeeans woke to find the wind blowing, snow falling and even some lightning flashing, which wasn’t much of a surprise because we had been under a “Winter Storm Advisory” since Tuesday afternoon.
The weathermen were calling for 12 to 18 inches of snow along the lakefront and 10 to 14 inches in south central Wisconsin. Just like I used to when I was in school, I hoped with all my might that the blizzard would bury us in the middle of the night so that maybe it’d be far too dangerous to venture out to work in the morning. All night I had dreams of the snow piling up so high that my sister and I were stuck inside our apartment for an unexpected, lazy week off of work.
However, to my dismay we only had about three inches of snow when I sprang out of bed at 6 a.m. and it looked as if it was already letting up. I was crushed. I was looking forward to a day off – a day to relax and play board games and watch a ton of daytime TV and maybe even bake cookies (because that's what you do on snow days, people). With just a small inkling of hope left, I called our employee hotline only to find that conditions weren’t bad enough to call off work, so I was forced to shower and then commute to Franklin.
As I reluctantly got ready, I clicked on the news and watched lists of closures scroll below the broadcast. For most of Milwaukee County, schools, stores and offices were already closed and the National Weather Service advised people to stay inside because as we'd later find out, it was only going to get worse – and by worse I mean we were about to meet the mother of all snowstorms!
According to FOX News, thousands of WE Energies customers lost power in scattered outages during the day and schools and businesses across southern Wisconsin closed, including Milwaukee Public Schools (which hardly ever happens), several Milwaukee area shopping malls like Mayfair and Brookfield Square, and the Milwaukee Art Museum to name a few. These businesses and shops probably suffered a pretty heavy economic toll due to the blizzard. No matter, no one wanted to go out, at least no one in their right mind, and nobody could blame them!
In fact, all day there were reports of countless accidents and stranded vehicles and cars stuck in ditches along the interstate, and that was even after the salt trucks covered the roadways numerous times. Conditions like that were sure to scare anyone off the roads.
And the storm kept getting worse as it spawned wild winds and colder temperatures.
Mitchell International was forced to stop all flights in the afternoon due to whiteout conditions and the Milwaukee County Transit System had to suspend bus service around 5 p.m. after some 23 buses carrying passengers became stuck in the snow.
Clearly, we just couldn’t keep up with the whirling snow; we were no match for it.
If you had to brave the blizzard-like conditions, I hope you were safe. But if you were lucky enough to get a day off of school or work, I hope you had a comfy day inside, or if you preferred, a day outside sledding or building a snowman or just enjoying the winter wonderland!
Fortunately, my office decided to close around noon and I got home just before the height of the storm. I was grateful. My afternoon was spent resting on the sofa and watching reruns of Sex and the City with my sister whose classes were canceled at UWM. It was perfect.
As the storm was winding down around 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, snowfall reports ranged from 21 inches near Beloit and 20.7 in Cedarburg to 16 inches in Waukesha and Brookfield to 18 inches in Glendale and 14 in Racine County. Holy cow! Here on the East Side we were covered by a 12-inch blanket of snow. It’s times like these when I’m very happy to be renting...
This morning I didn’t wake up to gusting winds, instead it was to the sounds of humming snow blowers and shovels scraping the pavement as neighbors tried digging their cars and driveways out from under the foot of heavy, wet snow.
Air traffic at Mitchell International resumed this morning, as did bus service in the Milwaukee area, but buses were still having some difficulty navigating the sloppy city streets. Everyone’s electricity has been restored and businesses and shops opened today as scheduled.
Luckily, the forecast isn’t calling for any more snow in the next couple of days, which will allow us time to get back to normal.
I was totally misinformed – it was snowing when I woke up this morning. But the two inches we are going to get will be nothing compared to the 20-some we were buried underneath on Wednesday!