Blizzard all but closes Austin Straubel International Airport

4:35 PM, Dec 20, 2012   |    comments
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By The Green Bay Press Gazette

Blizzard conditions have led to the cancellation of almost all flights to and from Austin Straubel International Airport in Ashwaubenon through Friday morning.

As of 3:15 p.m., only one American Airlines flight from Chicago was expected to arrive, at 9:30 p.m. All other incoming flights were canceled. All outbound flights were canceled through 6:45 a.m. Friday, when an American flight was expected to return to Chicago, and 7:05 a.m. Friday, when a Delta Air Lines flight was expected to leave for Detroit.

All departures from Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville are canceled through early Friday, but two incoming Delta flights at 8:36 and 9:02 p.m. are still listed as on time. Several flights, including mostly departures, are canceled at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

As of 11:30 a.m., at least 5.5 inches of wet, blowing snow has smacked the Green Bay area as experts predict a record-breaking 15 inches could fall before midnight.

Ten to 15 inches of snow had been expected with the storm, but the National Weather Service in Ashwaubenon increased projections to possibly 17 inches. Those numbers were later downgraded back to 15 inches. Winds will steadily increase with gusts of 40 to 50 mph expected by this afternoon and evening.

Thursday's expected snowfall would break the Dec. 20 record of 7.6 inches set in 2004.

The largest amount of snowfall on a December calendar day is 14.4 inches on Dec. 3, 1990, according to the NWS.

The record for a calendar day is 24 inches set on March 1, 1888.

A blizzard warning remains in effect until midnight for the Green Bay area and most of Northeastern Wisconsin to the east and south, according to the NWS.

Counties in the warning area include Brown, Outagamie, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Calumet, Winnebago and Waushara.

More than 1,200 Wisconsin Public Service Corp. customers were without electric power Manitowoc County as of 3:15 p.m., according to the WPS website. Outages also included Chilton (923), the Marinette area (230), and Oshkosh (152).

As of about 1:30 p.m., other snow totals included:

• Madison: 13.5 inches
• Fond du Lac: 9.5 inches
• Clintonville: 5.6 inches
• Rhinelander: 2 to 4 inches

Elsewhere in Wisconsin
The storm has left thousands of Wisconsin residents without power and caused at least two major rollover crashes in Dane County.

The storm cut power to about 2,300 Madison Gas & Electric customers in the Madison area; nearly 1,900 Alliant Energy customers through south-central and southwestern Wisconsin; and about 450 We Energies customers in the Oshkosh area. All the utilities are working to restore power.

A semi-trailer jackknifed on Interstate 39/90 near Stoughton. Another semi-trailer rolled over on I-90 near DeForest and Waunakee. Both accidents caused backups but were cleared. The Wisconsin State Patrol said.

Green Bay Press Gazette

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