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LIVE UPDATES: Worst of Winter Storm Expected After 5 p.m.

Keep up with Patch for real-time information on accidents, commute times and more. This article serves Racine County Patch communities.

Thursday updates

8:44 p.m.: @TotalTrafficMKE tweeted at 8:38 p.m. about an accident on I-94 that has the left lane blocked at Highway 20.

7:28 p.m.: According to the National Weather Service, the official temperature in Racine at 7 p.m. remained above freezing at 34. But with winds of 17 mph, gusting to almost 30 mph, the wind chill index was 23. 

6:06 p.m.: Racine County has finally seen the rain turn to snow, though the FOX 6 radar shows the very heaviest band has actually moved over Lake Michigan. The most recent forecast suggests 2-4 inches near the lake and 3-6 in the western part of the county.

Madison, on the other hand, has been crushed. School already has been canceled for Friday, and Madison.com has tweeted that 18 inches are possible by the time the storm is done. 

4:42 p.m.: Today's TMJ4 is reporting that AirTran and Southwest say they have canceled all flights leaving Milwaukee today. Check your flight here.

4:37 p.m.: Our media partners at FOX6 News have just updated the list of closings and there are several activities that are canceled tonight due to the weather. So far, there are no Friday school closings on the list.

4 p.m: With raining falling for most of the day in Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant, snow plows have been readied, but they're waiting.

The DPWs of both villages have trucks loaded with salt ready to go, but workers don't expect to be out plowing until after midnight. How long after midnight depends on how heavy and fast the snow falls and piles up.

Chuck Stachowski, DPW s in Sturtevant, said the 2 to 4 inches predicted for this area is a normal snowfall that doesn't really warrant any special plans.

"Our guys will go home at their normal time at the end of the day and then we'll implement our normal snowplowing plan," he said.

Mark Benish in Mount Pleasant agreed. "We're ready for whatever comes, but we probably won't be out to plow until after midnight since four inches isn't really that much snow," he said.

1:45 p.m.: The state Department of Transportation has just issued an advisory urging motorists to cancel or delay travel plans today and Friday because of anticipated treacherous road conditions that "could have life-threatening impacts." Not only is a winter storm that expected to make conditions hazardous, but the high volume of holiday traffic also could create numerous problems on state roads, the DOT says. In the Milwaukee area, the current rain will begin to freeze and change to snow this afternoon, which will create very hazardous driving conditions during the afternoon rush hour, according to the DOT.

1 p.m.: CBS 58 just Tweeted that had this been all snow in the Milwaukee area, the forecast would have been for 18 to 24 inches.

Be extra eyes and ears for Patch:

8:14 a.m.: Thin traffic and the predominance of rain in Racine and Milwaukee counties has made the morning commute uneventful, and schools here are open. Patch will resume more regular updates closer to 3 p.m. as snow blankets more of the area and wind increases.

7:20 a.m.: According to FOX6 meterologists, up to 3 inches of rain has fallen in Kenosha. Snow doesn't move into the south counties until about 3 p.m. The Journal Times of Racine reports that snow today would be the first measurable snow in Racine in 291 days, the longest stretch in 26 years.

6:50 a.m.: We Energies reports spotty power outages in the area, but no significant ones in Patch communities. In Racine, there are 3 total outages affecting 163 customers. 

6:16 a.m.: If you are flying out of Mitchell International Airport today, the airport's online departure schedule does not reflect many delays.

5:55 a.m.: FOX 6 meteorolgists expect the rain and rain/snow mix to change completely to snow in Milwaukee County by 3 p.m. and in Racine County by 6 p.m. Heavy winds, gusting to 40 mph, will also impact this afternoon's commute.

5:40 a.m: From Twitter @rayloraylo: "Big flash and booming thundersnow in Oregon, WI!"

5:17 a.m.: FOX 6 reports that there has been up to 2 inches of rain in Kenosha.

5:05 a.m.: All public schools are open Thursday in Racine County, which is experiencing primarily rain. Further west and north, snow has fallen steadily and a television station in Madison tweeted it had measured 7 inches of snow at 4:30 a.m. 

Wednesday updates

10:15 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from 5 p.m. Thursday to 3 a.m. Friday for Racine County.

The service says while there will be a light snow overnight and early Thursday, the the significant snow is expected to start Thursday afternoon and diminish later on Thursday. Between 4 to 6 inches of snow is expected, with the heaviest snowfall away from the lake.

The service is warning that travel may become difficult during the evening commute Thursday as rain turns into heavy snow. Some power failures also are possible due to heavy, wet snow collecting on trees and power lines.

8:30 p.m.: Radar shows rain just moving into Racine from the south. The snow is west and the line splitting snow and rain at this hour rides just along I-43 going toward Beloit.

5:30 p.m.: No closures of schools or other organizations for Thursday have been announced on the FOX 6 closings page. Racine County is expected to get less snow than areas north and west, with warmer air hanging around. FOX 6 is predicting 3.1 inches of snow for Racine.

Original article: The first winter storm of the season is expected to arrive in southeastern Wisconsin about 9 p.m. Wednesday night, according to a FOX 6 forecast Tuesday, but the exact impact on Racine County is unclear.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch beginning at midnight Wednesday for Racine County and Milwaukee, but it's a winter storm warning in points north and west. However, it also says southeast Wisconsin will see more warm air that could produce more rain/snow mix and hence less accumulation.

gman December 20, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Yuck
Chris Larsen December 20, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Why do we feel the need to name winter storms? It;s is just snow (unless you are in Racine country, then it is a nice December rain storm.

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