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Public works, utility companies gear up for freezing rain in SE Wisconsin overnight

salt truck
Posted at 12:26 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 14:41:43-05

WEST BEND, Wis. — Neighborhoods across southeast Wisconsin are bracing for potential severe weather, as freezing rain is expected to barrel down on cities late Monday and into Tuesday.

For the city of West Bend, gearing up for any type of severe weather is a team effort, with the department of public works planning out days in advance to have their crews ready to hit the roads on a moment’s notice.

"We are constantly watching the weather that changes, it's unpredictable. So, once the storm gets closer and we know a little bit more of a timeline, then we do call our crews in. When the storm starts, we do try to get our crews out,” said Doug Neumann, City of West Bend Department of Public Works Director.

To that effort, crews lay down a layer of liquid brine treatment the day before and in the early evening, 16 salt trucks will start rolling out as soon as the first raindrop falls.

But the concern over the weather’s effects doesn’t end there.

The freezing rain can also cause widespread power outages, which We Energies spokesperson Brendan Conway says is even trickier to navigate.

“Let's say ice is on a tree branch, [that] can really weigh that tree branch down and that's when you might have some issues where tree branches can fall. And that tends to be the biggest impact we have, is other things come into contact with our power lines. And so that is certainly something that we're keeping an eye on,” said Conway.

Both organizations tell TMJ4 that the best way you can keep you and your family safe during the severe weather is to make sure you have an emergency kit ready to go and if you see any downed power lines or slick roads, call it in as soon as you can.

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