September 21, 2023

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Kenosha County’s first measurable snowfall leads to several vehicle accidents

Kenosha County’s first measurable snowfall leads to several vehicle accidents

Friday’s weather turned parts of Kenosha into a winter wonderland, but the first measurable snowfall this season caught quite a few drivers by surprise.

In less than a two hour period starting at 9:18 a.m., the Pleasant Prairie Police Department responded to nine snow-related vehicle accidents according to Capt. Paul Marik, including a truck versus a school bus with 40 students aboard at 116th Street and 39th Avenue.

While there were no serious injuries to report in any of the incidents, with many of them “garden variety” single vehicle accidents, Marik advised caution to drivers.

In wintery conditions, even 35 mph could be too fast for the road, even in four-wheel-drive vehicles which he said may handle better, but still take the same amount of time to stop as any other vehicle.

“Leave a little earlier for work, and slow down,” Marik said. “Make sure you have good tires, and make sure your phone is charged.”

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He advised keeping a winter emergency pack in the vehicle, including extra mittens, hats, blankets and a shovel. Additionally, after an accident, Marik said people should “take a deep breath” and assess the situation.

While it’s best to stay off the road, if you have to drive in snow, you need to know what to do to stay safe.

Jason Freitag, operations superintendent with Kenosha County Public Works, said they expect the weather to be clearer on Saturday, although things could change at any time. He also advised caution, especially around snowplows.

“Give us as much room as possible,” Freitag said. “It’s difficult to see when cars are behind the trucks, and it’s a lot of long hours for the drivers.”

The county is split into 42 sections, Freitag said, with a plow for each, meaning there were about 42 trucks on the roads through Friday, clearing snow and salting roads. Between state and county road salt reserves at two locations, Frietag said they had about 17,500 tons of salt at the beginning of the winter season.

Matt Holiner, chief meteorologist for Lee Enterprises, said he expected about 3 inches of snow in total in western Kenosha County, dropping to about a half inch near the lake.

Residents should expect a mix of light snow and rain on Saturday, with an emphasis on the rain due to slightly higher temperatures, followed by a fairly dry and cloudy Sunday.