The biggest snowstorm of the winter put smiles on the faces of thousands of students Friday as classes were canceled in more than 100 school districts and private schools in southern Wisconsin.
Roads were hard to traverse throughout southern Wisconsin, especially in rural areas and residential areas in municipalities.
The snowstorm overnight has prompted the opening of Dane County's snowmobile trails at noon Friday, the first time the trails have been open this winter.
A snow emergency will begin Friday night in Madison, according to interim streets superintendent Steve Schultz.
A general plowing operation in Madison started at 7 a.m., with about 150 pieces of equipment working the city's 1,700 miles of lanes.
"The main routes and bus routes are passable and in pretty good shape, but the residential streets are a mess," Schultz said.
The Madison School District didn't really call a snow day for students, since they were already off for an in-service day, but the district did relent on making staff come to work by canceling the in-service.
Many events scheduled for Friday night, including basketball in many school districts, already have been called off.
A full list of closings and cancellations can be found on the Channel 3000 website.
The snow emergency in Madison will be in effect both Friday night and Saturday night, ending at 7 a.m. Sunday.
The Streets Division is asking residents to remove vehicles and other equipment from city streets if possible, but if not, follow the alternate side parking rules.
Alternate side parking means vehicles should be parked on the even-house-number side of the street Friday night, since it will be an even-numbered day on Saturday (Feb. 10), and the odd-house-number side of the street Saturday night.
The freshly-fallen snow early Friday helped Madison police arrest a man allegedly trying to open car doors on the city's East Side.
The rule is enforced from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., but for all practical purposes, people park on the correct side of the street the night before.
Violators of the alternate-side parking rule will get $60 tickets and a chance to have their vehicles towed.
The snow emergency zone covering Downtown and the Isthmus is extremely tight on parking, so Schultz said it's critical for residents to follow the rules in the zone.
"We need to get vehicles out of the way in the Isthmus," he said. "We need to get that snow out of there."
Residents also are reminded that all daytime parking restrictions remain in effect, so if parking is prohibited on selected blocks in the snow emergency zone or on the Near East and Near West Sides, those rules still apply.
For those with no place to park in the snow emergency zone, the city-owned ramps makes parking available for free in the cashiered (non-permit) sections from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
If you park before 9 p.m. or after 7 a.m., you will be charged for the time in the ramp.
The city also wants nobody to park on the top level of the ramps so they can be plowed.
Free parking is also available at the Brittingham Park Shelter lot on West Washington Avenue.
The Wisconsin 511 road conditions map shows highways are snow covered and slippery thoughout the southern half of the state, but are in good winter driving condition in the northern half.