Major Winter Storm for Southern Wisconsin - January 2nd , 1999
The First Major Winter Storm of 1999 struck on January 2nd, one day into the new year. Ten to twenty inches of SNOW accumulated across southern Wisconsin amidst strong winds gusting to 30-35 mph resulting in frequent white-outs. Winds gusted between 50 and 60 mph near Lake Michigan and combined with the heaviest snowfall to produce blizzard conditions east of a line from Fond du Lac to Janesville where drifts of 4 to 8 feet were common. There were at least 7 major multi-vehicle pile-ups. One person died in a 50-60 car pile-up on I-94 near Waukesha. Four other deaths occurred due to heart attacks while shoveling snow and ten injuries were storm related, one due to hypothermia and 9 others from automobile accidents. 7000 customers were without electrical power at one time or another due to downed power lines in Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha counties. Arctic air funneled into Wisconsin behind the storm, providing the classic final ingredient to the Wisconsin's first major winter storm of the calendar year.