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First rain promises slick roads

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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With the first rainfall of the season threatening to arrive in the foothills late Friday afternoon, the California Highway Patrol is advising motorists to slow down and take some extra steps to avoid accidents during the evening commute. The National Weather Service is forecasting a storm will bear down on Northern California from the Gulf of Alaska, bringing around a half-inch of rain to the Sacramento area and a chance of two to four inches of snow in the Sierra Nevada above 7,000 feet. Meteorologist Felix Garcia of the service’s Sacramento office, said Thursday that rain will last from Friday afternoon into Saturday morning. Winds of up to 30 mph will carry the storm quickly through the valley, with the Redding and Red Bluff areas anticipating an inch or more of rain. Gold Run CHP Officer Rich Ruiz said that with the first rain since late May in the forecast, motorists will have to drive on slick roadways, where oil deposited on blacktop over the summer has risen to the surface of the water. Drivers should put a priority on watching their speed, especially in areas like Kingvale along Interstate 80k, where construction is taking place, Ruiz said. Motorists should also leave more room than they normally would between their vehicle and the one in front of them, he said. And with traffic slowing in the rain, drivers should realize that travel will take longer and build a cushion of extra time into their trips to ensure they arrive safely and on time, Ruiz said. Taking the time to change windshield wipers that have hardened in the heat over the summer is also a good thing to do now, he said. Garcia said that the rain should be followed Sunday by a warming trend. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.