Random questions about Madison -Humidity, allergies, etc. Thanks!! (Milwaukee, Superior: house, school district)
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Random questions about Madison -Humidity, allergies, etc. Thanks!!
I have never posted on a site like this, so forgive my ignorance. My husband has just received a very tempting job offer in Madison. We currently live in Missoula Montana - so we are well acquainted with cold weather ....
We both have grad. degrees and we have two school aged children. We have both grown up in the West and Madison would be a new adventure for us. There are certain aspects in Madison that I think we would be familiar with..... we are used to a "liberal" community - Missoula is well known in Montana for that particular label. We are used to snow and bitter cold spells but the rest is a bit foreign to us. I have read through a myriad of posts so far and I am so grateful that so many people are willing to share their knowledge and I have just a few additional questions that I did not find answers to yet. Thanks!!
How would you rate the prevalence of allergies in Madison? Mold, pollen, air pollution? My son has severe asthma so I am a bit worried about that.....
How difficult is the humidity - since we hail from the dry West humidity is a bit of a mystery to us. I have read posts that it makes the summers "unbearable" and we enjoy being outside often. Is this true or is it an overexaggeration?
This may sound like a very random question... But are there bug issues like mosquitos? We don't mind bugs as long as they do not terribly interrupt summer recreation activities.
Are there schools that would be suitable for a child with Aspergers? Our son enjoys the smaller school setting that he currently attends (we actually have him placed in a private school in Missoula). I have heard that Madison schools are good - would you recommend a private school or a public school? Which schools would you recommend for a child with special needs?
What are the recreational activities like? We are used to mountains and hiking -and we love variation and have heard that Wisconsin is very beautiful, especially in the spring and fall. Is there good hiking nearby?
I actually don't think the humidity is that bad here. I spent several years in Kansas where it was 98 degrees to go along with the humidity. Here it is 80 degrees and somewhat humid, so not all that bad in my opinion. Schools are generally pretty good here, with some of the suburban schools like Middleton being real good. I don't know about their specialty with children requiring special needs or Asperger's though, so I can't comment on that. As far as the outdoorsy things, Madison is a really bike friendly community and the residents really take advantage of the summer months. Also, many people enjoy sailing on Lake Mendota or Monona. As far as hiking, locally there are some State Parks, but head up north to the Lake Superior area and the hiking definitely improves. Mosquitoes are not a huge hindrance, they can be annoying at times but just wearing some insect repellent helps.
I can't comment on all your questions, but here's some info:
Weather: humidity will definitely be more than Missoula, but not really all that bad except for a few days here and there in mid summer. It is not as bad as further south, or further east. Winters are somewhat colder and longer than Missoula, but 8 of the last 10 have been warmer than normal, so maybe things will look up. Summer highs are same as Missoula, but morning lows are about 10 degs warmer, due to the higher dewpoints. All in all weather not likely to be your main problem.
Spring and Fall are definitely the best seasons here.
Terrain much flatter than Montana, but many more well paved country roads so things are more accessible. Many more lakes also. You will also be closer to big cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis. If you like bicycling then Madison is great.
Pollen and allergies, definitely more than out west, but hard to know whether a specific person might be affected. I find the long, very dry winters more bothersome.
Mosquitos: Depends a lot on where you are. Avoid living in low-lying areas with dense vegetation. In general they are worse in the city than out in the country.
The info has been very helpful! I have been researching the area in-depth, Madison seems like a lovely area. It would be nice to be near "urban" amenities. Missoula is quite a distance from any larger cities.
Missoula is beautiful and recreational opportunities abound - so I would be a bit sad about that. We do love biking though. My husband is a bike trail fanatic - so that is a huge plus.
It is good to know that the humidity really isn't that bad. I read a few negative posts earlier and the comments on humidity seemed a bit over-stated.
I moved back to the Midwest from Reno, NV. The humidity here (at least the last few summers) is well... noticeable compared to the West but its not like you are living in Atlanta or anything. There may be a few days when you feel a little damp but if you have A/C in your house that will dry it out but honestly, its really not even that bad. I DO keep a cool mist humidifier running in the winter overnight because I get sinus infections if my nose dries out too much, and the dry air here in winter is noticeable.
Allergies- I had problems with sagebrush and whatever else grows in the dirt out there, here I had problems maybe the first fall, but since then Ive been fine. I also have an air purifier which I had to use when we lived in Chicago, but I think that was more a function of the pot-smokers who lived next door than true allergies! But one of those allergy-rated filters could be an option if you have difficulties in the first year.
One thing about Madison is that its easy to get out and enjoy recreational opportunities. You can do that right here in town, or drive out of town maybe a half hour and find even more opportunities (bike trails, etc. Warner Park is excellent for xcountry skiing/sledding/skating in the winter). Actually, since we are down in the southern Kettles, there is a ski hill not far to the west (Blackhawk) and other hilly terrain. I dont know if people hike there in the summer though, but its not a 40 minute drive from the near east side of town- be even closer if you are in Middleton. Its very pretty over there.
Ive seen a number of Montana and MSU stickers on cars here and the odd Montana plate so there are some of you folks floating around town already!
I think people complain about allergies mainly in Spring, but that is everywhere at that time of year. I wouldn't say it is any worse or better here than most other places east of the Mississipi.
Mosquitos here are bad. You can't be outside on a still summer evening in the back yard without torches, repelnt candles or repelent and long sleeves. The day time is fine, but when you want to enjoy an outdoor supper or grill, you will notice them.
The humidity here comes and goes. It is bad when it is humid but it isn't constant. You might have a week or two with mild, dry Canadian air, then a warm front will come through and bring rain and storms and after is passes through there can be two very uncomfortable days until the next cold front pushes it through.
I would say that in general summers are beautiful with the exception of a couple days each week when the temps and humidity increase dramatically. It will really not be an issue since the majority o the days will be wonderful.
The schools are good and you could always email the Madison Metropolitan School District directly and find out what programs they offer for children with who need a specialized educational program as in your son's case.
How would you rate the prevalence of allergies in Madison? Mold, pollen, air pollution? Not sure how to answer this, but I know it isn't as bad as down south. My daughter never had alergies til she went to Texas! It can happen of course, but air purifiers really do help.
How difficult is the humidity - overexaggeration? As others have said...it can get humid in the summer..July and August in particular; but again, not as bad as other areas of the country. It is more sporadic...rather miserable when it is hot/humid, but luckily, it normally doesn't last too long!
This may sound like a very random question... But are there bug issues like mosquitos? yes..they can affect outdoor activities, especially at dusk or in the woods, but that is why they sell OFF! We also have ticks to consider - but in general, bugs aren't too bad (and I HATE bugs!)
Are there schools that would be suitable for a child with Aspergers? I can't answer this specifically, but our son has Down's Syndrome, and we were very pleased with Wisconsin schools special needs programming.
What are the recreational activities like? We are used to mountains and hiking -and we love variation and have heard that Wisconsin is very beautiful, especially in the spring and fall. Is there good hiking nearby? Madison area is beautiful...lots of areas for hiking...and although we have no mountains, we do have rolling hills, forests, and abundant lakes; many areas to visit, sightsee, picnic and enjoy.
If the offer is right, Madison area is a great place to be.
Madison is ranked #4 for worst allergens in the US by the Asthma Assoc. :-/ and I can attest to it being REALLY bad, we didn't even know we had allergies til we moved here...going on 8 weeks now of constant runny nose, sneezes, watery eyes, just miserable :-/
Humidity was not so bad last summer, but lots of rain! I'm familiar with Missoula and must say that you'll feel Madison is hot comparatively. Missoula is so gorgeous...wish they had more jobs there!!
Madison will also feel very large for you most likely, and totally different with the mountains all missing!
Thanks for the help, this has helped a lot. Yes, it is hard to find decent jobs in Missoula and even then they don't pay very well compared with the rest of the country.... when you combine that with a high cost of living it can be difficult to survive in Missoula with a family .
I have several co-workers that have moved from Wisconsin to Montana and they note that wages are higher in Madison. Many of them want to move back some day.
Thanks for the info on bugs and allergies - it has clarified things alot! I think we will spend the money to come out and see the city. Thanks for everyone's help!
There is a parent's group called MAGIC for families with special needs in Middleton. Most of the focus seems to be kids on the autism spectrum. You should be able to find the website. If you can't, let me know and I will find a link for you.
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