Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has declared a winter weather emergency for Milwaukee County employees from 6 p.m. tonight through 6 p.m. Thursday, based on the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Wind Chill Warning.
Pursuant to this declaration, Milwaukee County circuit courts and Milwaukee County government will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday for the safety of employees and the public. All non-essential personnel are not to report to work. At this time, Milwaukee County plans to resume normal operations Friday, Feb. 1, and all County employees will report to work as usual.
NWS is forecasting air temperatures of -10°F to -35°F, combined with 10 to 20 mph westerly breezes to produce wind chill values of -35°F to -55°F. Wind chills of this magnitude will result in a considerable risk for hypothermia and frostbite in just a few minutes on exposed skin. This is a life-threatening situation for those without proper clothing and/or shelter.
“We do not make decisions like this lightly, and we look at every possible option when we are considering closure,” said Abele. “But the fact is that the weather in the next two days creates dangerous conditions for people to be outside. We are mindful of our role as stewards of taxpayer funds, but we are also not going to risk the health and safety of our employees and the people we serve. The clear, safe choice for us is to close both Wednesday and Thursday.”
Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is closely monitoring the weather conditions and will continue to update personnel on additional closures and hazards. OEM has been in contact with Wisconsin Emergency Management and will request state support if necessary, pursuant to Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order declaring a state of emergency for Wisconsin.
Residents are urged to check in frequently on family and neighbors. Anyone needing emergency shelter should call 211 immediately.
Courts will not be in session Wednesday and Thursday. Jurors and reserve jurors scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday are not to report; your jury service is now complete, and you cannot be called again for at least four (4) years. For additional information, visit county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Courts or call 414-985-6200.
Thursday’s meeting of the County Board of Supervisors’ Finance and Audit Committee, including the public hearing regarding inmate medical services, is rescheduled to Friday, Feb. 1, at 9 a.m. in Courthouse Room 203-R.
Residents are urged to stay off the roads, travel conditions are extremely dangerous. Salt treatments become ineffective at these bitter cold temperatures, and black ice may form. Milwaukee County Fleet Management and Highway Maintenance Staff will be on call to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) through the duration of this weather emergency. MCSO will continue to patrol freeways and County roads.
Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) buses are expected to be running, though weather-related delays may be possible depending on travel conditions. Riders are encouraged to check ridemcts.com for the latest information.
Gen. Mitchell International Airport (GMIA) remains open, with maintenance crews working around the clock to keep runways available. Travelers are encouraged to confirm arrival and departure information with their airline.