“Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,

Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,

And while the bubbling and loud hissing urn

Throws up a steamy column, and the cups

That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,

So let us welcome peaceful evening in.”

— William Cowper, The Fireside in Winter

ASHLAND — William Cowper, an English poet and Anglican hymnwriter who died in 1800 at age 68, knew how to turn a winter storm into a good time.

That’s the biggest message gleaned from his work “The Fireside in Winter,” in which the Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, poet shows how winter can bring us together.

In the full poem, Cowper encourages people to gather by the fireplace, sing songs, and create art as winter rages forward — clearly offering a positive look at winter.

William Cowper

Keep all of that in mind Wednesday. You may need some positive thoughts — and a hissing urn and a few cups of your own. Alcohol optional, as always.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for most of Ohio, in effect from Wednesday at 3 a.m. through Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Winter weather advisories are issued when snow, blowing snow, ice, sleet, or a combination of these wintry elements is expected but conditions should not be hazardous enough to meet warning criteria.

An area that includes Richland, Ashland, Knox and Crawford counties can expect to see mixed precipitation expected of snow and sleet with total accumulations of three to four inches with a light glaze.

This one comes just a few days after the region got anywhere from four to six inches on Sunday.

Snow will overspread the area Wednesday morning before transitioning to a wintry mix and then rain by Wednesday afternoon.

The heaviest snow is expected Wednesday morning when snow rates of up to one inch per hour may be possible.

It’s definitely going to affect your morning commute on Wednesday. And maybe even your drive home in the afternoon.

So you need to plan ahead. As a former boss once told me during a winter storm when people were arriving late to work or calling off, “There is no such thing as bad weather, Carl. Just bad preparation.”

Here are some driving tips from the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness:

— Let the vehicle engine warm up. During cold, winter weather newer-model cars can easily be put in gear and driven as soon as they’re started, but that doesn’t necessarily mean skipping the warm-up entirely.

— Pay attention to weather reports in the local media. Allow time in your schedule for bad weather and/or traffic delays. Visit Ohio Department of Transportation’s www.OhGo.com for current traffic information such as weather-related road conditions, road closures and traffic accidents.

— Keep your windows clear of snow and ice. Remember to brush off the head, tail and brake lights, too.

— If you turn on your windshield wipers, turn on your headlights. It’s Ohio law.

— Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent fuel line freeze-up. Fill your gas tank completely full before parking your car for lengthy periods.

— Leave ample stopping time between you and the driver in front of you. Braking distance can be up to nine times greater on snowy, icy surfaces than on dry roads.

— If your vehicle is equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), be sure to

– STOMP firmly on the brake pedal

– STAY on the brakes – do not pump the brakes

– STEER where you want the vehicle to go

— Gently pump Non-ABS brakes to stop the vehicle. Take any corrective action gradually. You will need to maintain full control of the vehicle. Refer to the vehicle operations manual for proper methods to correct skids.

— During winter travel, it is best to supply those at your destination with the following information: Your cell phone number, departure time, travel route, and anticipated time of arrival.

— Lock your vehicle, even in bad weather. To prevent door and trunk locks from freezing, lubricate the locks with a silicone spray or door-lock lubricant. If they’re already frozen, use a lock antifreeze product to thaw them. Do not pour hot water on the locks – they will refreeze.

— Drive with extreme caution on bridges and overpasses during freezing temperatures. Because bridge temperatures can be five to six degrees colder than roadways, they can become slick and icy before roads.

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