How To Survive A Midwest Winter |Expat Life

Last Updated on August 6, 2022

My goodness. I’d never been so cold in my life until I moved to Iowa. It’s not unusual for the temperature to be -20c/-4f on a daily basis, it can even get lower than this!  I honestly thought temperatures that low only existed in the poles…not in a country where the summers are 30c/86f!  Here are my (not so serious) Midwest winter survival tips!

Disclosure: Please note some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking.  It comes at no extra cost to you. For more information visit the Privacy & Disclosure Policy here.

Winter In The Midwest USA

Usual winter gear just isn’t warm enough.

Knitted gloves?  Yeah, throw them away.  I actually invested in a pair of thermal mittens…my first pair of mittens since I was about 3 years old!  Believe it or not, your hands stay warmer in mittens as they use the body heat from the fingers next door to keep warm!  Snow boots, ski trousers, thermals, pocket Hand Warmers, you’ll need it all!

You have to prioritise body parts.

Just like the gloves, my bobble hat just didn’t cut it either. I decided to sacrifice the warmth of my forehead to keep my ears warm with ear muffs. I’m tempted to buy ski goggles and wear them all the time because frozen eyeballs are horrible too.

You better learn how to drive in the snow.

My journey to work only takes 4 minutes on a good day, but the road is hilly and has lots of corners. In the snow it terrifies me, I crawl along at 20mph white knuckling the whole way. Yet there are still idiots that tailgate me and I know I’m not being stupid because I’ve seen a whole bunch of cars in the ditches along that road. People just seem to not want to slow down!

*TIP* I was told to flick the rear view mirror so you can’t see who’s behind you, that way you can just concentrate on your own driving and not worry about who’s behind you!

Timmerman's Supper Club East Dubuque

If you go on holiday get your neighbour to shovel your snow, otherwise you’ll have the Rozzers on your back.

When my other half was in Jamaica (the week that we first met), it snowed in Iowa. The town sheriff had left him a whole bunch of messages moaning that he hadn’t cleared the paths outside his house. It was his responsibility to keep them clean…apparently even when you are 1000 miles away sunning it up in the Caribbean!

A (sweeping) brush will be your new best friend.

I park in a heated garage. That eliminates having to scrape icy windscreens in the morning, but there’s no guarantee that it won’t snow in the day! I bought an Ice scraper combined with a brush head (scraper for the ice and the brush for the snow) and it’s awesome! I can reach the whole windscreen with my stumpy little arms because it has a long reach handle too!

Remote start. Say no more.

You can turn your car on from inside and it’ll heat up ready for you. Unfortunately my key fob button is knackered and so it won’t work until I’m practically inside the car…

Just drive to your mail box, even the short walk across the road is painful.

I still don’t get why there’s no letter box in the doors, in the summer it’s fine because I go out walking every day but in the winter when all I want to do is hibernate, going to get the post becomes a chore! I’ve found myself getting lazy and just driving to the box after work and hanging out of the window to get the post!

You’ll wake up in the night thinking something is about to smash into your house.

…but it’s just the snow plough going by!  The big metal scoop scrapes along the concrete road and makes a really loud noise!  It’s almost like a weather alarm, if I hear it go by, I know it has snowed in the night before I’ve even got out of bed!

Schools get delayed for loads of random things in the winter.

Fog. Wind chills. Snow. Sudden temperature drops. Ice. Taking a job in a school was possibly the best thing I could have done as a British Expat. We aren’t cut out for driving in the snow, so if the roads are bad, school gets delayed and therefore I don’t have to try and get in to work. Win win!

You know when a swimming pool has a completely still surface and you want to be the one to ruin it…fresh snow has that effect too!

Just embrace it and make that snow angel! Even if you do end up freezing your butt off!

Kylie Signature
How to survive a Midwest winter

2 thoughts on “How To Survive A Midwest Winter |Expat Life

    1. Yes! I find that if I go to a ‘gathering’ people will store the food and drinks outside if they have no space in the fridge or freezer! I guess it’s making the most out of a situation!

Leave a Reply