As snow begins to fall, officials want to remind drivers of winter driving habits

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Winter is coming.

Snow fell in Western Wisconsin overnight, giving drivers a reminder that we live in a cold part of the country.

"These first couple of snowfalls too seem to be the ones that give people the biggest headaches because you're trying to re-learn how to do the winter diving," said National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Todd Shea.

And it was a headache-inducing morning for many in the Coulee Region.

The city of La Crosse police department says they received the same amount of 911 calls during a five-hour period Friday morning as they would during a normal 24-hour day.

"Between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. this morning, La Crosse police alone responded to 23 automobile crashes within the city of La Crosse. It's also my understanding that in the entire county there were 100 weather-related incidents that occurred and in that same time frame," said La Crosse Police Department Sgt. Tom Walsh.

Even though only around an inch of snow fell, that is all it takes for road conditions to change.

"There doesn't have to be a winter storm warning out, or a winter weather advisory in all cases. It could be a pretty light snow like we saw overnight, depending on the time of day and when people are driving the most," said Shea.

At the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Friday is the final day of winter awareness week.

And as we head towards colder weather with more snow, officials want drivers to be prepared.

"Winter driving habits are different and we need to slow down, we need to be really aware of our surroundings and be aware of the changes as they are happening," said Walsh.

He also wants to remind drivers to clear their windshields after snow has fallen.