Cold-snap begins in southeastern Wisconsin, people urged to take precautions

NOW: Cold-snap begins in southeastern Wisconsin, people urged to take precautions

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – A week-long stretch of frigid temperatures kicks off in southeastern Wisconsin, prompting warnings from officials and experts for people to take necessary precautions.

The Milwaukee Department of Public Works faced a one-two punch of handling several inches of snow Thursday night, Feb. 4, followed by a rapid dip in temperatures, leading to concerns of snow converting to ice.

“We’ve gotten a jump on things, however the work is not done and we will be continuing even into tomorrow,” Brian DeNeve, DPW’s marketing & communication officer, told CBS 58.

More than 100 salt trucks were out in the city Friday to address the issue.

DPW also responded to a water main break on the city’s southwest side. The incident highlighted the challenges the department faces with the winter weather.

“The catch basins that would normally help drain some of that water, there was snow over there because of last night’s event, so that can be a separate challenge in addition to the frigid temperatures,” DeNeve said.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office said it responded to more than two dozen weather-related calls between 2 p.m. Thursday and midnight.

The Racine County Sheriff’s Department also said the weather has kept its officers’ hands full, and urges drivers to be mindful.

“We’re getting into that winter driving season and having to struggle with the ice, the snow,” Lt. James Evans said. “Understanding that our cars may not start or control as good as we want or may not stop as well as we want them to. [I] think one of the things we need to remember is that four-wheel drive does not mean four-wheel stop.”

The prolonged cold snap also means a threat to people’s homes. Milwaukee Water Works advised residents to monitor the temperature in their home to prevent things like frozen or burst pipes. The warning is echoed by Al Holtz, the owner, president and master plumber at Milwaukee Plumbing & Piping Inc.

Holtz said it’s important for people to make sure their heating is working properly and know where their water meter is in case they need to shut it off.

“Once a pipe bursts it creates a tremendous amount of damage and the longer it’s going to run, the more damage it could create,” Holtz told CBS 58. “So the number one thing would be to make sure to get that water off immediately to prevent further damage.”

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