Don’t travel Friday unless absolutely necessary, Wisconsin DOT says

MADISON, Wis. — With possible whiteout or blizzard conditions and dangerous wind chills in store later this week, Wisconsin transportation officials are urging people not to travel Friday.

The winter storm, which is expected to begin late Wednesday night and carry into Friday, will bring periods of snow along with high winds, very low visibility, snow drifts, and frigid temperatures across the state. Snow totals will be higher to the north, but the wind and blowing snow will still make it extremely difficult to travel in southern Wisconsin.

Wind chills of -20 to -30 degrees during the day on Friday also mean it could be extremely dangerous if you slide off of the road and don’t have access to heat while you wait for help.

Wind gusts Thursday night through Friday night could reach up to 55 mph and could create blizzard-like conditions, even in areas where less snow is falling. Aside from the sustained winds making it difficult for taller vehicles to drive, the DOT says the conditions may become so bad on Friday that tow companies may not be able to help you if go off the road.

“Don’t underestimate this storm,” Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Tim Carnahan said. “The conditions are such and the temperatures are such that things like salt are going to be in many cases ineffective, it’s too cold and the wind would blow the salt off the road anyway.”

RELATED: Here’s what the DOT says you should do if you’re stranded in a winter storm

If you absolutely need to travel, the DOT recommends making sure you plan ahead with a full tank of gas and pack a winter survival kit, including blankets, water, and high-calorie foods like trail mix or protein bars in case you find yourself stranded for long periods of time.

You can check driving conditions across the state before you begin your trip on the DOT’s 511 map.

Download the First Warn Weather app to stay up-to-date on current weather conditions and the latest forecast.