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

Winter Weather Awareness Week for Wisconsin
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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 IN OTHER NEWS

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TOMAHAWK - A two-time World Snowmobile Derby Champion raced for something bigger than just himself at last month's derby.

Tomahawk native Nick Van Strydonk decided to design a custom racing suit and matching helmet to be auctioned off the last day of the derby.

Wednesday, he lived up to that promise with a larger donation than he ever expected.

"I'm glad I was at work and sitting down in my chair because it was mind blowing," said Van Strydonk.

At this year's derby in Eagle River, Van Strydonk raced in a custom made suit and helmet which he planned to auction off the last day of the derby.

"It was actually a really cool suit and I only wore it once," said Van Strydonk.

He planned to raise enough money to send at least three veterans on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight which is about $1,500 but much like his competition, he blew that goal away.

"I believe we were just at $5,000," said Van Strydonk.

Strydonk donated $3,000 to the Honor Flight Foundation which will send six veterans on an upcoming flight. He also gave Wounded Warriors $1,000 and $500 to the Tomahawk VFW Post Wednesday.

"It never ceases to amaze me the gratitude and the love that the people of Tomahawk and surrounding A two-time World Snowmobile Derby Champion raced for something bigger than just himself at last month's derby.

Tomahawk native Nick Van Strydonk decided to design a custom racing suit and matching helmet to be auctioned off the last day of the derby.

Wednesday, he lived up to that promise with a larger donation than he ever expected.

"I'm glad I was at work and sitting down in my chair because it was mind blowing," said Van Strydonk.

At this year's derby in Eagle River, Van Strydonk raced in a custom made suit and helmet which he planned to auction off the last day of the derby.

"It was actually a really cool suit and I only wore it once," said Van Strydonk.

He planned to raise enough money to send at least three veterans on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight which is about $1,500 but much like his competition, he blew that goal away.

"I believe we were just at $5,000," said Van Strydonk.

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MERRILL - A doctor will need to help decide if the man accused of murdering a Tomahawk man in his driveway last fall was in his right mind.

Eric Moen, 33, pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in Lincoln County Court on Wednesday.

Moen told police he didn't know why he shot and killed Charles Ramp on November 16th.

Moen ran from the scene and was arrested in western Wisconsin.

He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

More on this story can be found in the initial reports as well as following Moen's initial appearance in court.

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IRONWOOD, MI - A large fire in Ironwood, Michigan killed at least one person early Wednesday morning.

Ironwood Public Safety reports firefighters were called to the downtown building on E. Aurora Street around 4 a.m.  The fire burned a building with businesses and apartments.

Crews pulled three people from apartment windows on upper floors, but another person pulled from the fire died at the hospital.  The Public Safety Department didn't release the victim's name or age.

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WAUSAU - Wausau Police call the death of a 77-year-old man "suspicious," which is why it's treating the death of Lyle Leith as a homicide. 

Tuesday morning, police responded to a home on the 1000 block of Kickbusch Street. They found Leith dead, and called the circumstances suspicious. We learned Leith's name late Wednesday afternoon.

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THREE LAKES - Getting diagnosed with a rare disease can be a scary, isolating feeling. A Three Lakes girl and her mother don't view it that way, they want to show the disease doesn't define 11- year- old Ada.
"It came out of the blue you have a child and don't know you're going to encounter that," said Ada's mother Jennifer West.
Jennifer knew something was different when her two year old daughter was shrinking in size and had bowed legs.

"[It was] a turning point in my life as a mom," said Jennifer.
It took nearly 12 specialists to diagnose Ada with XL- Hypophosphatemia, a form of rickets. The genetic disorder that affects one in 20,000 people.
"It's kind of like finding a needle in the haystack and I found out I'm the needle," said Ada.
Ada's body can't properly handle phosphorus, making her bones soft and her figure smaller. That's led to dozens of doctor's appointments and a surgery last week. 

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MINOCQUA - Kevin Bolger worked hard to get to this moment.

The Lakeland Union High School grad has won his fair share of cross-country ski races since earning a high school state championship title in 2011.

But now he'll get the opportunity to represent the United States at the Cross Country World Cup series in Finland and Sweden next month. 

"Skiing at this level is kind of like the next step you want to get to and ski at. I'm just beyond, I can't really explain it, I'm just super excited," said Bolger. 

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RHINELANDER - Wednesday morning multiple fire agencies responded to a fire in Sugar Camp. That response was made much easier with MABAS. MABAS stands for Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. Agencies use MABAS to call other departments from the area to help with emergencies like fires or mass casualties. 

Wednesday night, fire departments from across Oneida County met at Nicolet College for an exercise using MABAS. The exercise gave first responders the experience of responding to a large incident in a learning environment.

The exercise simulated a large emergency response to a structure fire in downtown Rhinelander.
Depending on the level of the MABAS alert, different agencies send different resources to help. 

"What we do is we preplan who is going to respond. We do that by using an 80/20 rule so that all departments will only send 20% or their resources and leave the other 80% in place," said Rhinelander Fire Department Lieutenant Michael Wesle. 

MABAS Division 114 is made up of 21 fire departments from across Oneida County and is one of 60 Divisions in the state of Wisconsin. Agencies in Oneida County have started using MABAS more often over the past few years. 

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