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Spring-like weather: High winds create trouble in area
High winds knocked down trash and recycling bins on the south side of Monroe near the high school. - photo by Marissa Weiher

As temperatures warm, even animals get spring in step

MONROE - Animals like squirrels and small birds have had an easier season with the mild winter months; which should benefit them long-term.

Mike Foy, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist for Rock and Green Counties, said warmer days will bring out more activity from the small tree-dwellers.

When there's a warm, spring-like day, "everybody gets a bit of a spring in their step," Foy said. "In a series of warm days, you're going to see more activity. It's fairly universal."

Foy went on to say squirrels "typically do what squirrels do" on warmer days in preparation for the colder ones, which may drive the critters into their nests to hunker down until the

temperature drop passes. Animal movement is dependent upon a number of factors, Foy said. Day length, winter storms, temperature and food availability will affect how much squirrels are roaming around.

Foy has not been able to find much change in different behavior from animals. The results of the warmer winter months will not be fully known until spring.

"(There's) none that we've been able to quantify at this point," Foy said. "Our expectation would be that mild winters are good for all sorts of wildlife ... but it's just an expectation at this point."

Small birds which do not migrate for the winter months should also fair better than if the season were harsh. Foy said most smaller fowl are unlikely to make it to adulthood if there are heavy snowstorms or frigid temperatures. Song birds in particular could come through the season in better condition because of the more favorable weather as long as spring weather does not bring constant freezing conditions. Notably, quail in the area which all but disappear in harsh winters because of small survival odds for hatchlings.

"It's kind of nice," Foy said. "I'll expect to hear Bobwhites whistling again."

MONROE - Wind gusts of nearly 60 miles per hour caused more than 40 power outages in Green County on Friday.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning until 6 p.m. Friday night; wind gusts from 50 to 60 miles per hour were reported in Monroe. Temperatures reached 44 degrees but were hampered by the gusts creating a 31-degree windchill in the area.

The strong southwest and westerly winds caused trouble with power lines in rural Brodhead. While the city water and light department specified no outages within the municipality, Alliant Energy representative Chris DuPre said there were 41 customers without power in the Brodhead area. He said one other was noted along 11th Avenue in Monroe.

"The winds are just playing havoc with the powerlines," DuPre said.

DuPre added that all outages were due to be fixed by late Friday afternoon.

Throughout the county the high winds also caused a headache for trash collectors. Brodhead Public Works Supervisor Rich Vogel said garbage day was wrought with problems because of the high winds.

"It's kind of a mess with the wind blowing the bins around," Vogel said.

The Monroe Streets Department had to deal with blowing trash bins as well. On the south side of town, a number of garbage cans blew into streets. Various tree limbs fell onto yards and streets without causing damage.

Near Belleville, the Green County Sheriff's office responded to a runaway trampoline that was blowing across Wisconsin 92 and confined by officers.

The Wisconsin State Patrol says the high winds apparently caused to two semis to overturn on Interstate 39/90 in separate incidents near Janesville in Rock County on Friday afternoon. Sgt. Craig Lindgren says there were no reports of injuries. The accidents caused backups of over three miles.

Strong gusts are also being blamed for knocking over a semi on Interstate 94 in Kenosha County.

- The Associated Press contributed to this story.