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Snowmelt begins

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Wisconsin will lose a lot of snow during the next two days as temperatures could surpass 50-degrees for the first time this year in parts of the state. All that snow has to go somewhere -- and the National Weather Service is telling cities along the state's numerous rivers to start preparing for floods.

Senior hydrologist Steve Buan says actual flooding is still some time away -- but if the snow-melt happens too quickly, there could be some pretty big floods. Wisconsin never had its traditional January-February thaw, which means our heavier-than-normal snow is still sitting on ground that has up to eight feet of frost in some places.

Also there's still heavy ice on many waterways. Lake Michigan set a new record during the weekend for ice cover. Almost 93.3-percent of the lake was covered with ice on Saturday, breaking the old mark of 93.1 set in 1977. Buan says there's a potential for heavy ice-jams during the spring melt -- and it might cause floods in unexpected places.

State officials have asked farmers not to spread manure this week, to avoid run-off. Forecasters say today will be the warmest day of the week, with highs close to 50 statewide. Light rain and sleet are due in tomorrow, with temperatures about ten degrees cooler. A colder day is in store Wednesday before the mercury goes back up to the 30's-and-40's by the end of the week.

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