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Winter Weather Awareness Week for WisconsinSubmitted: 11/07/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer


ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - We all know a Northwoods winter means lots of snow, but since we're so used to winter, we don't always prepare for it like we should. Preparing your car and home are essential.

"Make sure your furnace is in good working order, your fire place is in good working order. It's a good idea to have extra food, non-perishable food, whether you're traveling or even at home," say Jeff Last, Green Bay National Weather Service Meteorologist.

Even if a storm is predicted to just miss you, you should still be prepared. The weather changes constantly and so does the forecast.

"Forecasting winter storms is always a challenge here in the Midwest. A change in the low pressure track of just twenty-five or fifty miles can shift the heavy snow axis twenty-five or fifty miles to the north or south of where we thought it would go initially. So it's important, really important, that people stay up to date with the latest forecast," said Last.

And while big storms can cause meteorologists headaches, day-to-day winter weather can be just as challenging. One of the toughest aspects to a Northwoods forecast…

"…the effect of Lake Superior. That's a big moisture source and as those cold north winds move over the warmer waters of Lake Superior it picks up that extra moisture and can dump copious amounts of snowfall," says Jeff Last.

But it's important to know what the forecast means. The National Weather Service issues alerts to help out.

"A Winter Weather Advisory is issued when we expect anywhere from about three to five or so inches of snow and relatively light winds," stated Last.

We had a Winter Weather Advisory for parts of the Northwoods last Tuesday night. The storm gave three to five inches of snow to parts of Vilas and Iron Counties. More intense storms call for different alerts.

"We issue a winter storm warning for snowfall six inches or more in twelve hours, or eight inches in twenty-four, or a combination of any amount of snow with extremely high winds," said Last.

These storms can create blizzard like conditions, dropping visibilities less than a quarter mile.

"If we expect blizzard conditions to last 3 hours or more, we will actually issue a blizzard warning, which is the most severe type of winter storm," says Jeff Last

Most importantly, be prepared for conditions to change quickly.



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FLORENCE - In Florence County, more people work in forestry-related jobs than in any other industry.

"It's unbelievable, the way I put it," said logger Jaden Streu. "There are a lot, a lot of jobs and a lot of people that are retiring."

Streu graduated from Florence High School this spring and immediately went to work for his family's business, CTL Timber Harvesting.

Streu was among the presenters at Wednesday's Log-A-Load educational day at Florence.

"I think the big thing is, this industry is changing, from some of the equipment [the students] saw that was working here today. It's highly technical equipment," Florence District Administrator Ben Niehaus said.

"My favorite station was the sawmill," said Florence fourth grader Hannah Holdaway. "I didn't know that they cut it with a machine. I thought they just cut it with a saw."

"I think they leave here with a whole different perspective of, 'Wow, this isn't just a chainsaw and something that looks like a bulldozer that picks wood up and decks it on a log truck. There's a lot more to it,'" Niehaus said.

People like Streu would like to leave a positive impression of the forestry industry on students.

"We hope that they leave [saying], 'This ain't bad. This is a good thing,'" he said.

Hopefully, as Streu sees it, some of these learners will someday become his coworkers in the forest.

"We need the younger generation to come in, like me, to take it over and keep it going," Streu said. "It's a family business and I can have kids, hopefully, and be able to show them and bring them up in it and keep it going generations after generations."

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