Being prepared for the first snowfall of the season

FILE: Snow falling in North Freedom on Oct 12. 2019. Courtesy: Mary and Brian Burns
By  | 

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- Before the first snowfall of the Fall season, officials are reminding drivers to be prepared for colder temperatures and snow conditions.

According to NBC15 Meteorologist James Parish, rain could switch to snow late Monday and early Tuesday. Widespread snowfall totals will range from one to two inches. The snow will most likely stick to elevated and grassy surfaces. Roads could be slushy in some spots.

State transportation officials recommend leaving extra time during the Tuesday morning commute.

Statistics from the Milwaukee/Sullivan National Weather Service from 2005-2016 reveal the highest number of crashes during snowy conditions happened during snowfalls with only two inches of snow or less. Officials recommend taking these steps to safely arrive to your destinations.


  • Set your alarm early because its possible your commute will take longer than it has in the past couple of months.

  • Check the weather. Conditions could change as the snow falls.

  • Watch out for bridges. There could be isolated wet and slick spots, specifically in elevated areas.

  • Check the traffic. Check WisDOT’s 511 site before you head out

  • Prepare your vehicle for winter driving.

Authorities said on average, about 50,000 vehicle crashes occur each winter season in Wisconsin when road surfaces are snow, ice, or slush covered. On average, it results in about 45 deaths and 5,000 injuries. It often takes a couple snow or ice events for drivers to adjust to recommended slower travel speeds.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, (WisDOT) a well-maintained vehicle is important, especially during winter conditions. It’s important to keep your fuel tank at least half-full. It will help prevent fuel lines from freezing.

They also recommend making sure tires have good tread and traction and properly inflated. Double-check you battery, anti-freeze, and cooling system to make sure they are in good condition. Also, check to make sure headlights and other vehicle lights are operating properly and replace worn windshield wipers.

Across Wisconsin’s 72 counties, there are more than 750 snowplows in operation on the state highway system. According to WisDOT, county highway departments determine when and how to respond to a storm.

The average day for a measurable snowfall is Nov. 9 in the Madison area.

To get the latest weather conditions and radar information in your area, you can download the NBC15 Weather Authority app for iOS and Android devices. It is free to download and will give you location-based severe weather alerts wherever you are and whenever you need it.