BY MATTHEW OLSON
molson@kenoshanews.com

March showed it still had some roar left as a few inches of wet, heavy snow led to power outages and downed tree branches throughout Kenosha on Sunday.

The weekend storm deposited between 3 and 8 inches of snow in Kenosha County from Saturday night to around noon on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Bill Borghoff, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said this snow was a very wet and heavy variety of precipitation.

Snow and ice weighed down power lines in the area, but wind was apparently to blame for thousands of Kenosha residents being without power on Sunday.

A strong gust off of Lake Michigan around 5 a.m. on Sunday downed wires and knocked out power to about 13,000 We Energies customers in Kenosha, Racine and South Milwaukee, according to Irissol Arce, a spokeswoman for We Energies.

We Energies crews worked throughout Sunday to restore power, and all but 1,200 customers in Racine and Kenosha were back online as of 5 p.m. Sunday.

Numerous traffic lights were left without power from those outages, requiring temporary stop signs to direct traffic. Kenosha Fire Battalion Chief Matt Haerter also said power fluctuations from snow and ice covering power lines and transformers on Sunday led to numerous calls for fire alarms being set off.

Sunday’s snow and ice also provided some unscheduled tree trimming throughout Kenosha.

John Prijic, superintendent for the city’s street division, said many branches were knocked down during the storm, and city arborists were sent to clear debris that was blocking traffic.

“Basically the weight of all the wet snow just snapped these branches off throughout the whole city,” Prijic said.

One of the larger trees to be snapped on Sunday was in front of Anne Steib’s house in the 7600 block of 25th Avenue. The large tree, which was partially damaged during last year’s tornadoes, was virtually split in two by Sunday’s storm.

Steib said she and her husband were staying at a friend’s house at the time, and they were thankful their car was not in the driveway when the tree fell.

“We always kind of questioned if that tree would fall down, and I joked, ‘Hopefully the tree is still standing,’” Steib said. “My husband called and said, ‘We have a problem.’ It was a really nice tree, but we’re really happy no one was hurt and it didn’t hit the house.”

Local law enforcement agencies reported several crashes and vehicles ending up in ditches due to the weather conditions, but no serious injuries were reported.

City street crews started salting on Saturday night and began a full plow run around 7 a.m. Sunday. Prijic said the city’s fleet held up well, despite not having to deal with a major snowfall in a few weeks.

“Every piece of equipment was out and nothing broke down,” Prijic said. “Maybe they had enough rest.”

The city’s equipment got further assistance as Sunday afternoon brought sunny skies and warmer temperatures, and the full city was plowed in less than eight hours. The city never declared a snow emergency, which prohibits parking on city streets, during this weekend’s storm.

A snowstorm at this point of the year is not exactly unusual for Kenosha. Borghoff said the last day of measurable snowfall is, on average, April 10 in this area. And Borghoff said a system scheduled to hit Kenosha in the middle of next week could bring a rain and snow mix.

But for now, Kenosha can turn its weather worries to a more spring-like concern: flooding.

Overnight temperatures were expected to remain below freezing, but Borghoff said projected high temperatures in the 40s today could melt almost all of Sunday’s snow by this evening. And rainfall is predicted for Tuesday.

Prijic said city crews already dealt with some minor flooding on Sunday, and the Fox River at New Munster is predicted to reach flood stage, 10 feet, on Tuesday with a crest of 10.3 feet expected on Wednesday, the first day of April.