UNITED STATES – JANUARY 6: In this satellite handout image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows the entry of a large area of low pressure, from the Polar Vortex, into the Northern U.S. January 6, 2014. The weather system is bringing dangerously cold temperatures not seen in half of the continental United States in about 20 years. It is expected to move northward back over Canada toward the end of the week. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)
On Wednesday, in mid-December, the temperature in Milwaukee was about 61 degrees. In Madison, it was slightly warmer at 64 degrees, and with an accompanying warning of high winds. In fact, the temperatures in Milwaukee and Madison are some of the highest ever recorded during the month of December in the two cities.
Meanwhile, snow storms are expected as a large system moves east toward the Badger State. The storms are expected to arrive Thursday morning, and die off by the evening, with the potential of dropping one to three inches of snow across the state.
Southwestern parts of the state may be hit by larger systems, bringing the snow drop up to three to eight inches. A high wind warning from the National Weather Service predicted winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour, with gusts up to 65 miles per hour. Wisconsin’s National Guard is also raising the alarm. “There is also a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms, with isolated tornadoes possible,” a Department of Military Affairs press release states.
Last week an unprecedented cluster of tornadoes struck in six states across the Midwest. At least 39 tornadoes touched down, leaving a path of destruction which resulted in at least 88 deaths, dozens of injured people, and millions of dollars in damage. Several of the tornadoes were also on the high end of the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which measures the strength of tornadoes. In Illinois, workers at an Amazon warehouse were told not to leave and lost their lives as a result. In Kentucky, workers at a candle factory say they were threatened with firing if they left the facility due to the storms. Parts of southeastern Wisconsin have experienced heightened tornado warnings. In Milwaukee, over 300 trees were downed by strong winds. Some have linked these increasingly destructive weather events with climate change.
The National Guard is warning Wisconsinites to be aware of where designated shelters are located at home, work, and school. If a warning is issued, folks should be ready to take shelter in these spaces. It’s also important to have several ways of accessing up-to-date weather alerts and information. The Guard even recommends making an emergency kit of food, water, flashlights and other supplies at home.
“During high wind events avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches,” the Department of Military Affairs warns. “If possible, remain in lower levels of your home and avoid windows. ReadyWisconsin suggests securing lightweight objects, such as holiday decoration, and bring unsecured objects inside. Travel may also be difficult for those driving high-profile vehicles, such as semi-trucks and large SUV’s. Crosswinds can easily affect these vehicles with a larger surface area.” Wisconsin Emergency Management is monitoring the weather conditions and is standing by to respond to emergencies.
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