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Storms, strong winds expected Thursday

Published On: Feb 19 2014 02:32:42 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 20 2014 02:40:27 PM CST

A winter storm for parts of northwest Wisconsin will mean storms and strong winds for southern Wisconsin on Thursday.

A low pressure system will move across Wisconsin Thursday afternoon and evening, strengthening as it moves through. Southern Wisconsin will be on the warm side of the storm, which will lead to rain showers and occasional thunderstorms, some of which could briefly become severe.

To the west of the storm, from Iowa into southern and eastern Minnesota and western and northern Wisconsin, precipitation will primarily be in the form of snow, some of which could be heavy at times. Snowfall amounts will range from less than 2 inches across southern Wisconsin to as much as 12 to 18 inches into southeastern Minnesota, north-central Iowa and northwestern Wisconsin.

Madison streets superintendent Chris Kelley said crews have been salting main streets, Madison Metro bus routes and streets near area hospitals because of the precipitation.

Crews started sanding operations on residential streets, and sanding the hills, curves and intersections to provide more traction.

As the cold front associated with this system swings through southern Wisconsin this evening, the system will be heading toward its peak intensity, and winds will increase to 20 to 35 mph, while gusting up to 50 mph or more overnight. Snow will develop from west to east during this evening and into the night, leading to 1-3 inches of fresh snow across the area by morning.

This could result in near blizzard conditions with near-zero visibility. Travel in the area will be very dangerous to nearly impossible in some areas.

A high wind watch was issued for much of southern Wisconsin as a result of these conditions.

Following the passage of the storm, unseasonably cold weather will return from the weekend into much of next week.

Near-record cold weather is expected by Wednesday with low temperatures approaching 10 below zero, daytime high temperatures staying below 10 above zero, and early morning wind chills dropping to as cold as 30 below zero.

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