Winter storm could hinder holiday travelers

Wisconsin State Farmer
Snowplows are expected to get a heavy workout as a winter storm arrives in central and northeast Wisconsin.

A winter storm could cover central and northeast Wisconsin with four or more inches of snow and make holiday travel more difficult later this week.

The snow is expected to start falling later Wednesday, but the heaviest snow probably won’t arrive in the region until Thursday afternoon, according to Jeff Last, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Green Bay.

The snow could linger until late Thursday night or early Friday morning, Last said. The forecast hasn’t been finalized, but most of Wisconsin should expect to get at least some precipitation. The heaviest is expected to fall in the corridor between La Crosse and the Fox Cities.

Snowplows clear snow from I-41 near Appleton on Dec. 13, 2017.

“This is not going to be a crippling winter storm by any stretch, but certainly enough to cause inconveniences on the roadways,” he said.

The winter storm has the potential to make driving a hassle for anyone with travel plans ahead of the holidays.

About 97.4 million people in the U.S. are expected to hit the road for the holidays this year, including about 2.2 million Wisconsin residents, according to a AAA report.

The heavy traffic and winter weather means drivers should prepare and check road conditions before going anywhere, said Mark Kantola, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

“Plan ahead, avoid distractions and be patient,” he said.

Don’t expect a reprieve from winter weather once this storm passes. Temperatures are expected to drop to single digits by Christmas, with wind chills below zero for most of the state, Last said.