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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

RHINELANDER - Caramel apples seem to be a go-to treat this time of year, but a tough growing season almost made them hard to find this Fall.

Fun Factory Sweet Shoppe in Rhinelander only uses Granny Smith apples for its caramel apples.

Throughout the last few weeks, manager Judy Fritz says she had trouble finding enough green apples in the Northwoods.

Stores said bad crops and little rainfall made the Granny Smith apples scarce this season.

She eventually found some sold in bulk in Milwaukee to bring up north.

Fun Factory is very particular about their apples, so in the meantime, Judy hand-picked from the produce aisles in local stores.

"We always make sure that there are no bumps or bruises. We want a nice, perfect apple," says Fritz.


Judy says you shouldn't worry about getting your hands on one of her caramel apples.

Shipments of granny smith apples from Washington State have started to come in to a local store she works with.

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MADISON - A man accused of stealing an arsenal of firearms from a southern Wisconsin gun shop regrets surviving.

Joseph Jakubowski says his 10 days on the run last April were the best days of his life.

Jakubowski will go on trial in federal court in Madison beginning Monday.

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MADISON - State Senator Kathleen Vinehout joins the list of democrats running for Governor.

Vinehout launched her campaign today, saying she wants to "turn the state's priorities upside down."

She wants to make tuition at Wisconsin's technical colleges and two-year colleges free for everyone.

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MARSHFIELD - Law Enforcement spent three hours in Marshfield Sunday negotiating with a suspect during a stand-off.

Marshfield Police arrested 24-year-old Michael Lea. A warrant was out on Lea for robbery, something that the police department was notified of. 

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PORTAGE COUNTY - A motorcycle rider died after a car crash in Portage County Saturday.

A car was trying to avoid another car pulling out of a drive way and slowed down causing the motorcycle rider to hit the back of the vehicle.

The motorcycle rider was pronounced dead on scene.

The other drivers had no injuries.

The incident is still under investigation.

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RHINELANDER - As technology advances, more kids turn to tablets and electronics rather than toys.

The toy industry isn't the only business changing.

Just last week major Toy Company Toys 'R' Us filed for bankruptcy.

The increasing reliance on technology has affected book stores too.

In recent years we have also seen major book stores close.

Watching the changes in bigger companies show local stores the direction consumers are moving.

Local book seller Kira Peters said it also helps smaller stores like Book World in downtown Rhinelander to move forward.

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TOMAHAWK - A 36- year-old woman was partially ejected from her car near Tomahawk.

The woman lost control of her car and rolled over into a ditch. 

There were no passengers in the car with her.

The woman was air lifted to a Wausau area hospital. 

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says her injuries don't appear to be life threatening.

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