With a chance of snow coming as soon as this weekend, this is a good time to get ready for winter weather.
Sure, there isn't any white stuff on the ground right now, but anyone who has lived in Iowa for more than a year or so knows exactly what can happen.
First, and probably foremost, get your car ready. Those bald tires? They're bad news on snowy and icy roads. So take your car in and get it checked to see if you need new tires.
And while your car's in the shop, get your brakes checked too. Stopping distances dramatically increase on ice and snow, so give yourself every chance you can.
And don't forget those wiper blades. Loose or missing blades can be a disaster if you're trying to push away ice and slush.
When you're on the road, make sure you have plenty of gas and survival gear. That includes snowmobile suits, blankets, water, high-energy foods and, if possible, a heat source such as a survival candle and matches. It might not sound like much, but a mere candle can mean the difference between surviving or not.
And dress for winter, especially when you travel. Layers of clothing help trap air which insulates you more against the cold than just one heavy layer. Wool still keeps you warm, even if it's wet. And find some good high-top boots or shoes, preferably with waterproofing.
Always carry a shovel, flashlight and a fully charged cell phone. They can mean the difference between life and death.
A little precaution now can help prevent a tragedy later. So please. Take stock of your situation and make sure you're prepared.