FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WFRV) – A major winter storm has made travel in northeast Wisconsin treacherous.
After a few inches of flakes fell throughout northeast Wisconsin on Tuesday night, Wednesday afternoon brought a second, more powerful round of snow. Strong winds created whiteout conditions throughout our region.
Brown County Highway Department officials told Local Five News that the more rural roads could be particularly dangerous because of the drifting snow from all the wind.
“Roads pretty slick, if you got four-wheel drive I’d recommend you use it,” said Jake Geurden who is a plow driver for Eric’s Winter and Landscape Services in Appleton.
Local Five News met Guerden at a Kwik Trip in Little Chute around 6:30 Wednesday night. He told us he was on hour two of what was going to be a long night of clearing roads, driveways, and parking lots.
As conditions worsened on Wednesday evening, law enforcement officials advised the public not to go out on the roads unless they absolutely need to get somewhere. If you do end up driving, make sure you’re prepared.
“Make sure the car battery is charged up, that all the fluids are working, make sure all your lights are on, that you’re taking your time, slowing down,” said Lieutenant Meghan Cash with the Appleton Police Department.
She said that drivers should also increase their following distance when driving in conditions like this and that speed and following too closely are the two biggest causes of accidents during winter storms.
Cash added that drivers should have extra winter clothes in their car and should also bring food and water in case they get stuck somewhere. She also recommended bringing your cell phone and to tell other people where you’re going and when you plan to arrive.
She also said drivers should always dress for the weather even if they are only traveling to a store down the street.
Outagamie and Waupaca County officials issued a tow ban on several major highways in their jurisdictions.
“As the day has progressed I can confidently say that the road conditions have diminished,” said Mark Haessly who is an inspector for the Wisconsin State Patrol.
As night fell and conditions worsened, driving became even more treacherous.
“Driving at night with diminished visibility is very difficult, if you don’t have to travel please don’t stay warm at home,” said Haessly.
Both law enforcement officers that Local Five News spoke to remind drivers to give snowplow drivers extra distance when they see them out on the road.
“If you don’t have to drive, don’t,” said Cash. “Stay home.”
Several municipalities have declared snow emergencies and will restrict parking on city streets over the next couple of days. This is to allow plow drivers to remove snow from the roads as quickly and efficiently as possible.