The woes of winter weather are here
By Brad Spakowitz
November has already brought a bit of cold and snow, but it’s finally December, the official start of meteorological winter (December, January, February).
You may recall from one of my previous articles, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) predicts a warmer, wetter winter here.
I said I agree, it will probably be warmer, but I’d be surprised if it was much snowier than average.
I stand by those thoughts – especially given recent weather trends, as the past three months have been incredibly dry, with barely more than one-third of the average precipitation for the period.
Nevertheless, time will tell how this unfolding winter actually plays out.
There are some things we can be reasonably sure of every winter here in Wisconsin: cold temperatures, some snow, some ice and, of course, slippery roads.
But before we wander into the woes of winter weather, let’s talk about the good things winter brings.
Foremost, the scenic beauty of the landscape, the snow smoothed simplicity brings serenity.
Winter is also a wonderful opportunity to tackle indoor projects, or enjoy other indoor interests.
If you’d rather be outside, take your pick of activities: hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, fat tire biking, snowmobiling, ice fishing, ice skating – the list is lengthy if you’re willing to bundle up and brave the cold.
And that’s where the winter woes begin, the cold air.
Let’s be honest, for most, the cold air is the worst part of winter, and it creeps in everywhere.
Even in the house you feel the colder air at your feet, you detect tiny drafts and you find yourself wearing more clothes.
Outside of the house you shiver in the car until it warms up, and even when bundled in layers, eventually the cold numbs the fingers, toes and the nose.
Worse yet, when cold is combined with wind, it can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening.
According to NOAA, of the injuries and deaths related to exposure to cold, 50% are people over 60 years old, more than 75% are male and shockingly, about 20% occur in the home.
Onto snow and ice.
Even just a little bit is slippery for feet and tires, and what would otherwise be a quick short excursion is now slow, and an exercise in caution and patience.
Worse yet, major winter storms bring traffic to a near standstill, disrupt commerce and pretty much shut down the town.
Adding to the misery, blowing and drifting can continue long after the snow has stopped falling, keeping roads snowy and sometimes delaying clean-up, or worse yet, requiring repeated clean-up.
In fact, when it comes to snow, it’s the clean-up that most people dread, especially if you have to shovel by hand.
But even if you have a snow blower, moving snow gets real old, real quick in active winters, as you have to start planning your life around snow removal, unlike the once-a-week mowing of the lawn in the summer.
And that’s the thing about winter, the snow and cold bring a certain inconvenience to the pace of daily life.
Time is spent putting on and taking off layers of clothes, it takes longer to get places, you have to pay closer attention to road conditions, travel plans are often subject to change, all courtesy of the weather.
It’s all part of the woes of winter weather, and it’s all on the way.