Winter storm hits with a vengeance
Winter has come late to Monroe County in full force as much of Central Wisconsin was blanketed under heavy snow Tuesday and the previous week. Local communities have received well over one foot of snow with Tomah recording over 17 inches over the course of recent days while Sparta received 12 inches.
The persistent winter weather left county highways and interstates snow covered leading to numerous area school closures and weather related accidents all over the county the past few weeks.
Authorities issued travel advisories, cautioning local residents to use care, as many roads were untreated and slippery with winds and drifting snow.
On Sunday, Feb. 10, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office responded to an accident involving three vehicles on State Highway 131 at Interstate 90 just south of Tomah.
Florence Krause, 88, of Tomah was operating a 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix northbound on Highway 131 when she lost control of her vehicle on the slippery, snow-covered road.
Krause’s vehicle crossed the median and was struck by a southbound 2011 Chevy Silverado, driven by Mark Migala, 57, of Tomah. Krause’s vehicle then spun around and was struck again by a 2013 Ford F150, driven by Gerald Fushianes, 62, also of Tomah.
Krause was trapped in her vehicle and needed to be extricated by the use of the Jaws of Life. Both Krause and Migala sustained non-life threatening injuries and were transported to Tomah Memorial Hospital by the Tomah Area Ambulance Service.
The southbound lane on the bridge was shut down for nearly an hour.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was assisted on scene by the Tomah Police Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, Tomah Fire Department, Tomah Area Ambulance Service, Oakdale Fire Department and Oakdale First Responders.
The matter remains under investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
On Tuesday, a Wisconsin State trooper was involved in an accident, which caused a chain reaction putting numerous vehicles and semi trucks in the ditch along Interstate 90/94 near Oakdale.
The cruiser was hit by two semi trucks involved in the multiple vehicle accident. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, the trooper was attempting to shut down traffic on the eastbound lane because of another crash site further down the interstate.
The cruiser was struck by a semi that lost control due to slippery road conditions, then another. The trooper, who was inside of the vehicle at the time of the accident, sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a nearby hospital.
The accident remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Office.
Local communities are now trying to dig out from under the snow with ongoing plowing and snow removal.
Motorists are reminded to use caution and provide space for heavy equipment moving snow from city streets around Monroe County. Streets will be narrow until crews are able to get ahead of the snow.
Not all locals were upset to see the snow fly. Following Tuesday’s snowstorm, local snow totals ranged from eight to 18 inches as crews began grooming Monroe County snowmobile trails.
This morning (Thursday) Snowmobile Trails of Monroe County reported all trails in the county are now open, except the trail from Leon to Middle Ridge and the bike trail from Kendall to Elroy. Snowmobilers are asked to be aware of drifting snow in spots and to use caution as some groomers may still be out on the trails.