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Madison prepares for freezing rain and ice

MADISON (WKOW) — A wintry mix falling Wednesday made a mess for people with plans and could possibly damage power lines in some areas.

The snow and ice we already saw Tuesday night is making the oncoming winter weather even harder to deal with.

“Since everything is kinda wet we didn’t really have the opportunity to pre-treat the roads,” Bryan Johnson with the City of Madison Streets Division, said.

The Streets Division is bracing for this frozen rain and ice, because unlike snow, they can’t plow it.

“We don’t really have any other tool in our toolbox to better scrape this stuff off the roads,” Johnson said. “So we really need residents and commuters and everybody on the roads tonight to just be really careful out there because you will likely encounter some slippery roads.”

They will have crews out spreading salt and sand in different neighborhoods across the city, because it won’t be too cold this time around.

There’s also a potential threat to power lines, both Madison Gas and Electric and Alliant Energy are monitoring the weather.

“So we’re always ready, we always have people out in the field,” Scott Reigstad, with Alliant Energy, said. “We have our gas and our line techs, our trucks gassed up and ready to go, we have the equipment we need to respond to any kind of outage.”

The biggest concern isn’t the ice by itself, but the hazard wind brings into play.

“The wind can come underneath and cause what we call galloping lines for the lines to go [up and down] and once they start going like that they break and crack as well,” Reigstad said.

They tend to trim tree branches above the lines throughout the year but they are also making lines safer in the future by burying the lines when they make upgrades.

“So when you bury the lines, there’s obviously no ice impact,” Reigstad said. “They’re five to six times more reliable and a lot of other advantages to that as well.”

For those of dreading the cleanup, Johnson says make sure to limit your salt usage and try using a manual ice breakers for your sidewalks.

The city also has sand piles available at many parks for you to take and spread on your sidewalks.

You can find all the information you need on the city’s winter page, here.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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