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NEWS STORIES

Winter Weather Awareness Week for WisconsinSubmitted: 11/07/2013

Melissa Constanzer
Morning Meteorologist/Reporter
mconstanzer@wjfw.com


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
Local kids help protect batsSubmitted: 04/27/2015

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RHINELANDER - Seventh graders in Rhinelander will help protect bats this summer. That's thanks to help from the U.S. Forest Service.

Kids in Rhinelander Monday learned about endangered bats across Wisconsin on Monday. A bat expert with Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest showed the importance of keeping bats healthy. The students helped local scientists by building new homes for the bats.

"Ms. Swaney showed us a presentation about the bats with a speaker and now we're building them," said 7th grader Jackie Wells.

"They have predators and it will kind of keep them safe in their little bat homes," said 7th Grader Connor Lund.

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ANTIGO - Dealing with allergic reactions to bee stings can be one of the biggest health threats to students.

"If we were seeing a reaction, for example a tingling of the mouth, swelling of the throat, a visual that a student might give us if they are unable to breath at that time, we would immediately administer an EpiPen," Director of Pupil Services Unified School District of Antigo Karen Baker.

Teachers watch carefully for possible allergic reactions, especially at recess and on field trips.

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RHINELANDER - Last year, a valve malfunction in eastern Wisconsin sent natural gas leaking into the air. A similar situation in the Northwoods could cut off gas supply to a whole city and be dangerous to people in the nearby area.

Wisconsin Public Service wants to be ready in case something like that happens. A natural gas station near the intersection of Highways 8 and 47 provides natural gas to most of Rhinelander. Workers rushed there on Monday, simulating their response to a leak.

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EAGLE RIVER - Many Northwoods cities need to make improvements to the roads now that it's spring.

Rhinelander wants to do it, enough to impose a new sales tax.

Another local city will make improvements to the road and the pipes under the road.

Eagle River will replace infrastructure on Division Street.

Eagle River's mayor Jeff Hyslop says it's about 70 years old.

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MERRILL - The Community Warming Center in Merrill finished up its first winter season a few weeks ago. The center provides a place to stay for people in need from November through April.

The guest's ages ranged from 22 to 45 years old. The center is run through the Merrill United Way. The Warming Center's director said its first year went much better than expected.

"It's kind of like building the field of dreams and not knowing if anyone will come to play, or to stay in our case," said Merrill United Way Executive Director Dee Olsen. "But what ended up happening was the community was responsive and we ended up with 11 guests throughout the season with 90 user nights."

The center is already preparing for the next season. They have new blankets and pillows ready for their next year.

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EAGLE RIVER - Many people enjoy freshly roasted coffee. But, the process to roast those coffee beans can be a science.

"We start with green coffee. It comes in 130 to 155 pound sacks of coffee," said owner of Eagle River Roasters Dan Beihoff.

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MILWAUKEE - Police have arrested four protesters who sat in the middle of a downtown Milwaukee intersection during a demonstration calling for more diversity at Marquette University.

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