Merced's weather to get wetter and foggy

yamaro@mercedsunstar.comNovember 27, 2012 

— Beautiful fall weather in Merced gave way to a chilly, gray, dreary Monday morning as foggy conditions descended across the region.

If that doesn't make driving conditions challenging enough, the forecast is for rain on and off through the weekend.

Jim Andersen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford, said more fog is expected this morning and tonight, Andersen said.

As the fog develops, it will be thicker in some areas tonight and in the morning, he said. The morning fog should burn off around noon, he added.

Temperatures for today should reach a high of 67 degrees and a low of 45 degrees overnight, Andersen said. For Wednesday, a high of 62 degrees and a low of 43 are forecast with a 90 percent chance of rain during the day and a 20 percent chance of rain overnight.

"There's a system to the northwest of us that will start to impact the area on Wednesday midmorning," Andersen said. "We are expecting some rain."

On Thursday, there's a 20 percent chance of rain, but another system is set to move into the area Thursday night, Andersen said. That will bring a 70 percent chance of rain throughout the night with a low of 49 degrees. A high of 64 degrees is forecast for Thursday.

There's an 80 percent chance of rain Friday, Andersen said. "We'll have a rainy end of the week and a rainy weekend," he said.

There will be some breaks in the wet weather, Andersen said. "But then you'll see these little impulses coming through, and that's when you'll get these clouds of rain coming through," he said.

The rain will keep the fog at bay for the rest of the week.

"We are entering the wet season," he said. "We are actually running a little behind, but now we are getting more rain."

John Patterson, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol office in Merced, said people need to slow down and drive with their headlights on low beam.

"In foggy conditions you want to make sure that you don't drive over a speed that you can't see something in time to bring your vehicle to a stop or slow down," he said.

If it's too foggy, people should postpone driving until the fog burns off.

People should make sure their vehicle is in working condition during wet weather. For example, Patterson said, it's important to ensure that car or truck tires are inflated properly and that the brakes are working.

When motorists have the windshield wipers on, he said, the law requires that the headlights be on as well.

It's critical that people follow these recommendations, he said, pointing out that the CHP responded to a few accidents during the fog on Monday morning.

"People continue to drive at the same speed as if the conditions were perfect and they're not," he said.

Following a few basic recommendations for safe driving during foggy or rainy conditions will reduce the chance that motorists will be involved in accidents, Patterson said.

"Their lives depend on that," he said. "That's how important it is."

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or yamaro@mercedsunstar.com.

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