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Old 01-30-2016, 10:03 PM
Location: Ladysmith
21 posts, read 13,913 times
Reputation: 34


Madison is definitely in a warmer climate zone if you have ever looked at those plant hardiness zones. I'm in cold zone 3 in Ladysmith. I'd guess Madison is probably zone 4, maybe 5. Winters are really cold and long all over the state, though.
Lake effect snow has been mentioned and can bring snow in feet rather than inches. But for the entire state, we all get our share of snow storms. Sometimes it will really snow heavy in the southern part of the state and miss us here up north. I drive to Illinois to Bloomington now for my dd in college and have driven through icy areas in the Dells and was quite surprised since it had been dry up north. Then it was nice again in Illinois, nice as in no snow on the roads.
Also, if you live in a valley that can make for some low cold spots. I lived in Eau Claire in my twenties and that was in Chippewa Valley. I grew up in Diamond Valley, i.e. south of Augusta and it felt really bitter cold there just as cold as up here in Ladysmith where I am now.
And then don't forget that "wind chill" factor: when they tell you it's five below, but feels like forty below. So it may be a little warmer in Madison if you look at temperature averages, but I wouldn't stay out of the northwoods based on ten degrees.
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:33 PM
Location: Milwaukee
158 posts, read 92,154 times
Reputation: 191
Originally Posted by cheese plate View Post
The biggest differences by far are actually along the Great Lakes. I work in Waukesha County (the hottest summer county in the state) and live a couple blocks off the lake in Milwaukee (one of the cooler summer locations). There are often large differences on my drive in/out. It's not at all uncommon for it to be 80 and sunny at work and 65 & foggy 25 minutes away. Or the snowstorm that turns to sleet and then rain on my ride home.

You mentioned Lake Superior being "cold," actually the lakes work to mitigate temperature extremes. You will, however, have way more snow up there.

Away from Superior, the northwoods are actually a raised plateau (the Canadian Shield) and the slight elevation change plus the location north makes the heart of the northwoods a good bit colder and more snowy than Madison.
Using high temperature data from cities on usclimatedata.com the hottest summer county in the state is Walworth County (Lake Geneva) with an average high from July-September of 81.3 F. It's also the hottest on an annual basis. Waukesha County (Waukesha) has an average of 78.3 F.

The hottest 6 counties in the summer border the states of Illinois, Iowa or Minnesota.

1. Walworth County (Lake Geneva) - 81.3
2. Green County (Monroe) - 80.3
3. Crawford County (Prairie du Chien) - 80.0
4. Buffalo County (Mondovi) - 79.7
5. LaCrosse County (La Crosse) - 79.7
6. Rock County (Janesville) - 79.3
7. Jefferson County (Jefferson) - 79.3
8. Richland County (Richland Ctr) - 79.0
9. Columbia County (Portage) - 79.0
10. Monroe County (Sparta) - 79.0
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