For the most part, the weather in October has been phenomenal. There's been little rain. Temperatures have been mild. In fact, up until last night, there hadn't been a hard frost.

Don't let your guard down. Winter weather is just around the corner and it's important you be prepared.

Make sure you have good snow tires or all weather treads on your car. There have been years when plowable snows have fallen in mid-October.

That means we could get snow at anytime. It's impossible at this point to say when we'll be getting any accumulating amount, but you shouldn't wait until it happens to decide if your car is prepared to handle the weather.

Is your car winterized? Do you have the proper oil for colder temperatures? Is your antifreeze good? What about your windshield washer? Is your tank filled? Is it the right type which won't freeze?

Is your car heater working properly? If not, you could be in trouble if ice forms on your windshield.

Be ready for the cold at your residence, too.

If you have storm windows, are they properly positioned?

Is your heating system working OK?

Make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms have good batteries. It's during colder periods that they most likely could be needed.

Speaking of batteries, do you have a fresh supply for your flashlights, lanterns, etc.

Do you have decent snow shovels? How about a supply of anti-skid materials in the event of freezing rain?

Are your coats and blankets pulled out of storage?

Except for skiers, most people don't look forward to winter. Heating bills rise, people in general don't like to be cold, and you can have more problems with vehicles.

The best way to handle it, though, is to be prepared.

Winter is coming whether we want it to or not. Even if it's a mild winter, you can bet there will be snow, subfreezing temperatures, and possibly even power outages.

Don't think the nice weather we had during most of October will stick around much longer.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com