State

Fog arrives first, then look for rain, snow

Drivers should brace for another foggy morning today and for a chance of the wet stuff — rain and snow — next week.

Thursday's fog did not cause any major accidents in the Modesto area, said Sgt. Matt McKee of the California Highway Patrol.

The San Joaquin Valley has entered the season of tule fog, which can stretch into March. The reduced visibility can cause everything from simple rear-enders to deadly chain-reaction crashes.

McKee's advice: "Slow down, have your lights set on low beam and assume that there will be something in the road ahead of you."

The National Weather Service forecasts partly cloudy skies most of the weekend and a possibly strong storm moving in Sunday night.

Monday is expected to be rainy in the valley and foothills and snowy higher up in the Sierra Nevada. An advisory from the Weather Service said the amounts could not be predicted yet. Another storm is forecast for midweek.

The wet season started with a blast, with a windy mid- October storm that dropped 1.82 inches of rain on Modesto, according to the Modesto Irrigation District.

The weather has been mostly dry since. Modesto had received 2.09 inches of rain as of Wednesday, compared with a historical average of 2.71 inches. About 13 inches falls in an average wet season.

It's too early to tell whether a fourth straight year of drought is in the works, MID spokeswoman Kate Hora said, but a wet December always helps.

"We're sure hoping for some rain next week, but the more important thing is snow in the mountains," she said.

The MID and the Turlock Irrigation District store Tuolumne River water in Don Pedro Reservoir. It is 69 percent full, much better than other large reservoirs around the state.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or 578-2385.

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