Three weeks ago, Southwest Wisconsin was hit by what the National Weather Service described as “life-threatening cold air” not experienced in 20 years.
It took just three weeks to equal the bitter cold of Jan. 6–7, preceded by a blizzard Sunday night with winds of more than 40 mph causing whiteout conditions that resulted in hundreds of cars ending up in ditches — 131 of them just in Grant County.
The effects of the winter weather — snow and ice on paved surfaces — resulted in the death of a 52-year-old Mifflin man who fell Saturday afternoon.
The Iowa County Sheriff’s Department reported that Dale Halverson had been preparing to go ice fishing when he fell and struck his head on Pine Street, which was covered by snow and ice, around 2:20 p.m. Halverson was found not breathing, and bystander CPR was begun, and Rewey First Responders were called, the sheriff’s department said.
Montfort EMS took Halverson to Upland Hills Health in Dodgeville, where he was pronounced dead.
At one point Sunday night, all the main highways heading into Platteville were closed, along with U.S. 151 from Platteville to Dubuque, and Wisconsin 80/81 south of Platteville, after Grant and Lafayette county highway trucks were pulled off county highways. U.S. 61 from Potosi to Lancaster was also closed.
Grant County dispatch called out fire departments based south of U.S. 18 around 7 p.m. to patrol main highways to rescue motorists from their stranded vehicles. Grant County dispatch also asked fire departments to staff their stations so that stranded motorists could be taken there.
Platteville Fire Chief Dave Izzard said his firefighters rescued 11 people from seven disabled vehicles, with more vehicles abandoned in the snow. Firefighters used their own four-wheel-drive vehicles for about five hours Sunday night. The Platteville fire station and Police Department were used as shelter for the stranded motorists.
Schools in the Belmont, Cuba City, Iowa–Grant and Potosi school districts were closed Monday. Schools in Platteville were also closed, because of a previously scheduled professional day that was canceled. All five school districts also canceled classes Tuesday.
Classes at UW–Platteville were canceled Monday, and Southwest Wisconsin Technical College classes were canceled Monday night.
Temperatures seesawed all week. Thursday’s high was 32 after a low of 12 below zero. The temperature went from 26 Sunday around noon to 10 below zero by Monday at 8 a.m.
The Platteville School Board meeting scheduled for Monday night was postponed by one day. The Livingston Community Improvement Corp. annual meeting and chili supper scheduled for Monday night was postponed until Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Tuesday morning’s low of 17 below zero missed the record low for Jan. 28.
Unlike the first polar vortex visit, a significant warmup isn’t in the forecast. What is in the forecast is more snow — 1 to 3 inches for Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.