This winter hasn’t been all that bad in southeast Iowa, all things considered. It has certainly been better than what people thought it might be when that November blizzard hit.

Still, it’s winter. Need proof? Look outside. By the time you read this, there’s probably a fair amount of snow coming down.

A weekend storm has its advantages. There aren’t as many people out. There aren’t as many reasons for people to be out. And kids in the area can get in a full day of sledding, instead of making do with whatever snow is left by the time Saturday rolls around.

We just ask one thing today. Please be careful.

The roads today aren’t going to be friendly. They may be snow-covered. They’re going to be slick. If you don’t have to drive, your best bet is to stay put.

Some people don’t have a choice, of course. Take it slow. Sliding into a ditch will delay you longer than knocking five or 10 miles per hour off your speed, and it will be a lot less expensive to just slow down.

Remember that all wheel drive and all wheel stop are not the same thing. Your SUV/Sherman tank hybrid may be able to make it up hills without any problem. But when it comes to stopping it’s all about friction. Snow won’t care one whit about whether your foot is on the brake as long as it’s between your tires and the asphalt.

The National Weather Service thinks Ottumwa will receive 4-6 inches. That’s plenty to cause problems on the roads. Be careful.

Driving isn’t the only thing that will need caution. Temperatures near freezing mean this may be a wet, heavy snow. The kind that can really be a pain in the neck — and back, and arms. There aren’t any prizes for getting your sidewalk shoveled out with a new personal best time. Shovel carefully.

Take breaks if you need them. Dress appropriately. Remember that the snow doesn’t care when you move it any more than it does when you’re trying to stop at an intersection.

This can be a beautiful time of year. The snow laying over the rolling countryside in southeast Iowa under a brilliant blue sky is a treat to see. Spotting a cardinal or blue jay standing out against the snow is always a bonus. But you have to handle the storm safely in order to get to the beauty on the other side.

Take it easy this weekend. Stay safe.

There’s plenty of news for us to cover. We’d much rather not have your crash be part of it.