How to Prepare for the Weather in Madison, Wisconsin (and Winter in General)
Sooner or later winter will be upon us. While most areas of the United States can manage to ride out the colder months, others aren’t so fortunate. New England states have winters that vary in coldness by their closeness to Canada. The same also goes for Wisconsin, as well. Since some of our subscribers live in Wisconsin and the winters there are extreme, I figured this was as good a place as any to start.
Wisconsin started 2019 off with an arctic blast that burst water pipes, snapped rail lines, and caused cancellations across schools and businesses. According to the National Weather Service, cold weather causes an average of 28 deaths per year. Here are some tips to stay safe during winter in Wisconsin.
Boots, Not Shoes
Your face may bear the brunt of the cold, but it’s your feet that affect your overall health. So it makes sense to find footwear that insulates your feet as well as your body.
Choose a pair of boots that are sturdy and able to keep your feet free from moisture. If they’re comfortable enough, you could get away with wearing them year-round. While most people layer up their clothing, layering up your socks will only cut off circulation making your feet feel colder than they are.
Keeping your fingers together inside your mittens, or gloves, is one way to keep your hands warm. For truly bitter cold climates, however, there are hand warming pads.
Hand warmers are basically the temperate opposite of the cold packs you would use to ice over wounds. The pocket-sized gel pads emit a heat sensation when placed inside your gloves (or shoes). They are commercially available in air-tight packs of 2 for $2.
Scarves are something of an extraneous, but underappreciated garment item. You might see people wearing these giant, colorful scarves and think they’re being showy. In fact, they’re being practical.
A scarf can mask one’s face and be used as an emergency blanket. Whether wool or cotton, a giant scarf can be vital in a moment where you need to keep warm in an area with low heating. Whole-body scarves may be excessive (and expensive), so find a “shawl” length scarf for easier portability.
Winterize Your Car
Living in Wisconsin, especially rural areas, means having constant access to a set of wheels. Getting your vehicle prepared for the winter should be the first task you should do in the fall.
The fluid levels, such as oil, antifreeze, and wiper fluid, should all be checked. Opt for an antifreeze-water mixture and make sure the oil is winter grade. Tires should be rotated and replaced if they’re going bald.
Also make sure and have an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. Make sure you have some emergency blankets for heat as well. Many people have frozen to death in their stalled car in the winter.
Safe Alternative Heating
You might have a hot heating system, but what if it wasn’t so hot? In Wisconsin, “Madison homes for sale” listings need to advertise alternative heating sources.
Fireplaces and wood-stoves are time-tested alternatives to modern heating. Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector along with your smoke detector. To avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, keep any fuel-burning back-up generators outside. If you invest in a space heater, place it on a non-combustible surface to avoid a fire.