Wednesday, 04 October 2006 00:26

Winter Like Weather Prompts Caution From CHP and Weather Officials

CHP Community OutreachOctober is getting off to a cool and potentially wet start, and that means Foothill and Sierra drivers to start preparing for winter weather according weather and CHP officials. For drivers in the down country areas of the county that means checking windshield wipers and tires, as well as, generally being more cautious. For Upcountry drivers this means checking both wipers and tires, but also making sure vehicles are ready for winter driving conditions, including the use of chains. According to California Highway Patrol Community Outreach Officer John C Hardey, “Drivers should slowdown, be aware, and exercise due caution and consideration toward other drivers.”

CHP Community OutreachDue to the first and light nature of the rain we have had here in the county, oils that have accumulated on the roadways are now floating up to the surface causing wet roads to be slick. Hardy also states that drivers should check their windshield wipers for operational effectiveness and their tires for tread thickness. “The law requires tires to have at least 1/32 of an inch of tread. Anything below that amount is an indication that the tires must be replaced immediately,” reminds Hardey. If traveling upcountry be fully prepared for winter driving conditions and allow extra time to cross snowy passes. "The first few storms of the season, we definitely worry about people who aren't that prepared for it," said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Snow levels could reach about 6,000 feet on Wednesday, she said, and while flakes won't necessarily stick or accumulate, that still means drivers should slow down and take it easy on slick roads. She didn't expect chains would be needed. In the Valley, up to a quarter-inch of rain could fall between tonight and Thursday morning, Hoxie said. According to Hoxie even with just the earliest hint of winter this week, there's no way to guess yet whether it will be a dry year or a wet flood-threatening one, said meteorologist Hoxsie. "We've certainly had wet autumns, and then the spigot just shuts off," she said. Other years, it just keeps pouring. For the short run, people should expect some warming, and "at least one more nice weekend," after a few cooler days this week, Hoxsie said. Temperatures could return to the high 70s by Saturday and Sunday.

Kathy Hoxsie Kathy Hoxsie Kathy Hoxsie