West, northwest Wis. to get 13 to 17 inches of snow by Fri. afternoon

NORTHWEST WISCONSIN (WITI) -- West and northwest Wisconsin will receive 13 to 17 inches by Friday afternoon with the highest snow near Lake Superior and lower accumulations farther from the lake.

As of 5:30 a.m., Superior reports 12.4 inches, Ashland has 11 inches, and Eau Claire has 7.4 inches. Seeley, in Sawyer County, received 5.5 inches of snow in two hours last night.

With snow ending, strong gusting winds become the main concern across the state. Sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts of 45 mph are expected in southern Wisconsin. A Wind Advisory is in effect until 3pm today.

Travel – The Department of Transportation reports snow covered roads in most of the state except in southeast Wisconsin where roads are in good winter driving condition The blowing snow will continue to make driving dangerous in the northwest. Avoid travel Friday morning if possible in that area. Travel is not advised across much of southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa with a Blizzard Warning still in effect.

Wisconsin National Guard – Last night the Wisconsin State Patrol requested Wisconsin National Guard members to check Rest Areas along Hwy 53 from Eau Claire to Rice Lake for any stranded motorists. The National Guard found several semi-trucks and a car parked at a wayside near Chetek with all drivers and passengers ok and in no need of assistance.

Power Outages - The major electric utilities serving Wisconsin report more than 5500 customers without power.

The American Birkebeiner- Race officials say events will continue to take place as scheduled.

The State Emergency Operations Center remains at level 3 with representatives from the Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Department of Transportation, State Patrol, the Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin National Guard monitoring the situation.