When most people got up Sunday, the grass was visible, the pavement was dry.
But at 9:30 a.m. wet, heavy snow moved in. The National Weather Service predicted Fond du Lac and Sheboygan counties would bear the brunt of the storm, with more than 11 inches of snow expected. The forecast for today calls for freezing drizzle and an additional 1 to 2 inches of snow, but blustery winds with gusts up to 35 mph.
At 11 a.m. Sunday, the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Department began responding to reports of accidents and runoffs due to slippery roads. Snowplows were out, but they couldn't keep the snow, falling at more than an inch an hour, off the roads. At noon, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation issued a bulletin urging no travel in Wisconsin due to the storm.
Between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., sheriff's officers responded to 17 reports of runoffs or accidents, prompting issuance of a "tow ban."
"If a car has run off the road and it is not a hazard to people on the roadway, we're going to leave it in the ditch," Bonack said Sunday. "We'll mark them and leave them. At this point it is more of a hazard to other traffic on the road to pull them out."
Officers gave drivers and their passengers rides to shelter.
Cars that broke down on the road or were otherwise impeding traffic, were removed.
As predicted, the snow came fast and furious Sunday, quickly blanketing Fond du Lac in white.
The new snow and tragedy on Lake Winnebago Saturday — when several cars went into the lake — didn't keep sturgeon spearers off the ice Sunday.
It was a slow day, but a safe day — with no incidents reported to Fond du Lac or Calumet authorities, said Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Jeff Bonack.
On Saturday, Fond du Lac County Sheriff Mick Fink warned people to stay off the ice, which had opened in several areas due to a warm spell that saw temperatures near 50 late last week.
The heavy snow on Sunday was expected to make conditions even worse, covering open spots and making venturing out on the ice especially treacherous.
"I hope people realize this (sturgeon spearing) is not worth risking their lives over," Bonack said.
Upriver Lakes closes
Three sturgeon were speared on Upriver Lakes Sunday, including one adult female, triggering the 90 percent harvest cap. That means the season on Upriver Lakes will close at 12:30 p.m. today. Spearers have until 1:30 p.m. to register their fish.
Twenty-three fish were registered on Lake Winnebago Sunday. To trigger the 90 percent harvest cap, 201 more adult females must be speared on Lake Winnebago. Ron Bruch of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said Sunday he anticipates the season may run the full 16 days on Lake Winnebago.
Bruch also announced Sunday the following registration stations are closed until further notice due to a reduction in the number of spearers: Calumet Harbor, Quinney and Harrison Town Hall. East shore fishermen may register their fish at Stockbridge. If the number of fishermen increases next weekend, the DNR may re-open some of the stations.
The largest fish taken Sunday was a 106.5-pound, 69.5-inch female from Lake Winnebago speared by Caleb Kempen of Neenah.
Through Sunday, 988 sturgeon have been speared on Lake Winnebago and another 333 have been taken from Upriver Lakes.