Winter is almost here and that means blowing snow, icy roads and freezing conditions. Being prepared for this type of weather is essential in Southeast Iowa. The following tips should be considered this winter season: If you must travel, make sure your car is stocked with survival gear like blankets, a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, extra warm clothing, set of tire chains, booster cables, quick energy foods and a brightly-colored cloth to use as a distress flag. Keep your gas tank full to prevent gasoline freeze-up. If you have a cell phone or two-way radio, keep the battery charged and keep it with you whenever traveling. Also, make sure someone knows your travel plans. To find out more winter safety tips, go online to weather.com and click on severe weather.