Tule fog makes its return to the Northern San Joaquin Valley

pguerra@modbee.comFebruary 11, 2014 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate text Patty Guerra
    Title: Breaking news editor
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    Bio: Patty Guerra has been an editor and reporter at The Modesto Bee for 13 years. She has a journalism degree from Fresno State and previously worked at the Turlock Journal and Merced Sun-Star.
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  • Fog safety

    The California Highway Patrol offers these tips for driving safely in the fog:

    • Slow your speed and increase the distance between your car and the car in front of you.

    • Turn on low-beam headlights. Do not use high beams; they don’t help you see better.

    • At intersections, roll down your windows and listen for approaching traffic before proceeding.

    • If you must stop in the fog, make sure you are completely off the road before stopping, and turn off all of the vehicle’s lights.

The lack of rain this winter means that another familiar visitor to the Northern San Joaquin Valley – the tule fog we generally get starting in November – hasn’t made much of an appearance.

That changed Tuesday, when the wet air brought about by last week’s storms made for a foggy morning, with patches dropping visibility in some areas until about 11 a.m.

More of the same is expected throughout the area today, with patchy fog in and around Stanislaus County ranging to areas of dense fog in Merced County.

“It’s not unusual to have fog this time of year,” said George Cline, forecaster with the National Weather Service. What is unusual, he added, is that the fog waited until February to show up with any real impact. Generally, the fog moves in around November, and we have days of it scattered through March.

Similar to last week’s storm, the fog is expected to move out relatively quickly. The Modesto area likely will be fog-free after late this morning, Cline said. In Merced, dense fog is expected in the night and morning hours through Friday.

Temperatures are expected to be a few degrees higher than the low 60s that are typical for the area this time of year.

A new storm system is expected to move into the greater area later this week, but it’s not expected to drop any rain south of Interstate 80. The next shot at rain in Stanislaus and Merced counties looks to be Sunday. Temperatures are expected to drop a few degrees to be closer to normal by then, as well.

“Then it lightens up again,” Cline said. But there are signs of more potential systems in the long-range forecast, he said.

Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at pguerra@modbee.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter @PattyGuerra.

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