Icy weather brings danger

Icy weather brings danger

LA CROSSE, Wis. - This icy weather is making it tough to get around, may it be on foot or by car.

Many schools and businesses closed today, but there are efforts to keep those who are out and about safe.

“Well it’s slippery,” Russ Hagen, an Iowa resident who’s traveling to pick up his sister at the airport, said. “So you want to be safe and not fall and break anything.

But with ice buildup like this, that can be easier said than done.

Most of Tri-State Ambulance’s calls Tuesday have been because of the ice.

"We've had anywhere from people just needing help off the ground. We've had dislocated knees, broken ankles, head injuries, we’ve had everything,” Eric Ellis, Tri-State operations supervisor, said.

That ice is slowing down their response times as well by about 30 percent.

"It's not just calls related to ice taking our time, it's the regular calls taking longer because of the ice,” Ellis said. “It takes us longer for us to walk safely in the house, for us to move the patients safely to the ambulance and for us to drive safely to hospital."

Crews are doing their best to make sure vehicles can keep moving safely.

"A lot of people are staying home. Businesses and schools are closed, which helps,” Tim Hammes, La Crosse County Highway Department patrol superintendent, said.

For a usual snowstorm, Hammes said that his men go through about 300 tons of salt. But for ice storms like this, they can get up to 800 to 1,000 tons.

Hammes said the 27 trucks have been out since 6 a.m. Monday, with their drivers working 16 hour shifts.

"Some years we have a lot of ice storms, some years we don't have any,” Hammes said. “Mother Nature dictates."

This just happens to be a year the area has had a lot of ice storms, but Mother Nature may soon come to the rescue.

"Probably tomorrow we'll get them all cleaned up,” Hammes said. “The sun's supposed to shine tomorrow."

“That’s why we’re tough,” Hagen said. “We can get through this stuff.”

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