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Old 09-12-2020, 09:27 AM
18 posts, read 9,477 times
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We have almost finalized moving to Wisconsin in spring. From what I read on the internet, there is a huge difference between snow totals in Kansas and Wisconsin. I am a little concerned. How bad is it? Does life come to a standstill in winter? Too many snow days in schools? I am not a big fan of driving in snow/slippery road conditions but the move is for a job and can’t do anything about it. Any advice is appreciated. TIA
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:28 AM
Location: WI
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Hi OP. First i would say the part of the state you will be living will make a large difference in avg snow. And on how the roads are maintained, etc. The Madison area may avg 48” or so and the upper part of the state near 80”. There can also be lake effect snow.
If living and working near interstates or well travelled roads you may have much better travel than in rural areas. Assume if you drive half the normal speed then snow could cause travel time to double. Just an estimate for an example. But I would suggest living near work, at least within reason as travel in winter can take longer and add in hazards. Summer of course brings road projects which are another conversation.
So if you can give an idea on locations it would be easier for members to give better details and suggestions.
Lastly come visit the area this winter to see what things could be like after you move there next year.
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:35 AM
Location: Up North
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It's not bad.
Life does not come to a standstill. You'll see fewer people walking their dogs or riding bikes, but you still see people walking their dogs and even... riding their bikes. No kidding.
If I remember, you're looking into the Kenosha area.
Snow days at schools are probably more rare in Wisconsin since they only shut down for really major storms. Wisconsin defines "major snow storms" differently so it's not often.
Extreme cold like well below zero might cause shutdowns as well but it's rare.
Driving in the snow only happens when it's actually snowing which isn't every day or every week even.
It gets plowed and salted quickly leaving the roads wet like rain, or mushy in places. Shortly after, they'll be completely dry. You still need to use common sense concerning black ice or walking to stores in parking lots that may not be cleared as well.
If you're nervous, some combination snow tires and/or all-wheel-drive vehicles do the trick. 4x4 pickup trucks aren't always ideal in my opinion but the newer ones probably aren't as bad. Most people don't even have any of that and get around just fine.
Country roads can be more hit and miss, especially the less traveled ones. In town and on any remotely major highway, there's not much to worry about.
I grew up down south were a couple inches of snow in the forecast would shut things down even if it never ended up happening. Ice storms would cripple the place for a week or two. I think they envision Wisconsin as some sort of uninhabitable wasteland in the winter, but I'd rather deal with inclement weather up north than down south where every little thing is magnified.
Once you get used to it, after a while you might wonder what the big deal was.
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Old 09-12-2020, 11:25 AM
Location: WI
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I’d agree with sub’s info; I have been driving here since the 70’s (with the exception of a few years in SC); we prefer awd for our every day driver, and at times when we had a fwd car we would put snow tires(4) on for winter. Makes a huge difference as snow tires not only have better tread patterns but are a softer compound for extreme cold and ice.

I hate winter but prefer to deal with snow over the cold. Driving in it can obviously be done it just takes patience. Dont be one of those you see fly by in am suv and later pass them in the ditch.
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Old 09-12-2020, 12:23 PM
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Unlike the South, things don't shut down here for inch of snow, so there is an expectation that you will show up to work or an event even if it is snowing. The main difference between Kansas and Wisconsin is that Wisconsin has very efficient snow removal, and here in Dane County they will coat the road with some kind of liquid that helps melt snow and ice the day before the storm.

I expect the concept of a snow day will be no longer now that schools have been acclimated to remote learning. It may also be the case that offices will just have their employees work remote if there is snow in the forecast - but we will have to see. Sometimes the best option is to hunker down with a book and a hot chocolate if the weather is bad out, but it is also important to make sure you get outside during the winter as well.

One thing to be aware of is that winters here are getting more mild, especially in the southern part of the state. One consequence is that the hardiness zones have completely changed from 1990 to today.

Another consequence is the lack of sea ice in Canada, which allows freezing air to settle down here unabated causing a "polar vortex." So while things, on average, are not as cold as they used to be, we now have to deal with a couple days out of the year that get really cold.
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:02 PM
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Thanks so much guys.
This answers a lot of questions. We will be staying and working in Kenosha/pleasant prairie area. Sorry I should have mentioned it earlier. So I am not worried about long commutes for work but I have seen such beautiful pictures of Wisconsin online- that we would definitely want to explore those attractions during winter as well. We hate staying indoors for long periods of time. (Who doesn’t?)

Here in Kansas, snowfall might be less than Wisconsin but last couple of years, freezing rain/ice has definitely been more frequent. We hate it as going to the mailbox becomes a struggle during those storms- and driving is really scary. Glad to know that snow is cleared quickly there.
Any other tips? I have read that black bears are seen frequently in Wisconsin. Sorry a dumb question probably- but do we see them in backyards anytime? Like we used to see deer in NC and see lot of rabbits here in Kansas.
And sorry what is OP?

Last edited by madison19; 09-12-2020 at 02:04 PM.. Reason: Adding more text
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Old 09-12-2020, 05:28 PM
Location: WI
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Hi OP (Original Poster).

I would think bears in the SE part of the state would be rare. Deer on the other hand are common throughout the state.

My tip to anyone looking at a new area is visit if at all possible. See areas you may like to live, check out recreational options and so on. And if able visit in winter since that is a point of concern.
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:34 PM
Location: La Crosse, WI
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Bears? I've never seen one and i've been here 40 years. I have seen pictures and know people that have seen them.

Snow? Big snowfalls are rare so most snow that falls is more annoying then anything. I will say this..i see more accidents in small snowfalls then big snowfalls (say dusting to 3 inches). All that i'll say is have good tires. Tires imo make all the difference in snow. Not sure about Kenosha, but this side of the state we avg about 40ish inches of snow but its very spread out (Oct-April) and most comes in small doses. I'd rather deal with a snowstorm then an ice storm anyday.

Disclaimer: I hate winter maybe more so the endless days of clouds of November/December. The really cold days of Jan/Feb at least bring sunshine with them.
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:29 AM
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
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Snow: We're used to it and the public works depts are well prepared--It's unusual for it to affect life & travel very much....

Bears-- only in the north half of the state. We even get stray cougars every few years. Wolves present in north half also....In Kenosha, I'd be more worried about arsonist & looters Chicago Bears appear once a year and usually dispatched without much fuss.

For your viewing pleasure-- https://www.pbs.org/video/around-cor...n-kenosha-203/
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Old 09-13-2020, 08:36 AM
Location: Kronenwetter Wisconsin
575 posts, read 297,180 times
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Central Wisconsin- I drive a Honda Civic and do fine in winter. I don't mind driving in snow but hate black ice. My job does allow us to work from home if we do not feel safe driving. I usually am fine just wait until the snow plow comes by.
We live in the country and bears are always after my bird feeders and garbage. We keep the garbage in the garage. We also have coyotes and the occasional bobcat.
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