Snow could fall as low as 2,000 feet through Tuesday, National Weather Service says

 The weather in Taft has been windy and rainy for most of the past week and now it's going to get cold and downright dangerous for drivers

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for the western San Joaquin valley and foothills for very cold temperatures and very low snow levels.

It went into effect early Monday and continues through 4 p.m. Tuesday

That includes the Temblor Range and Grocer Grade.

Snow levels will fall to 2,000 feet overnight and up to three inches of snow is possible through Tuesday afternoon.

There's a 60 percent chance of rain overnight and through Tuesday so freezing precipitation of some sort is a strong possibility above 2,000 feet.

Black ice on roadways, which is nearly invisible, is a possibility and that presents a major hazard to drivers.

California Highway Patrol officer Adam Taylor said drivers need to be very cautious.

"With the upcoming forecast for snow and dropping temperatures at lower elevations we would like to remind all motorists of the threat of black ice on mountain passes such as Grocer Grade on Highway 166," Taylor said. "The thin, nearly invisible coating of ice can form on paved surfaces, creating hazardous driving conditions.  Black ice is difficult to detect, especially during hours of darkness.  Drivers may not realize there is an icy surface until their vehicle begins to slide." 

Taylor said the CHP investigated more than 1,500 collision in 2017 statewide that occurred on roadway surfaces determined to be icy.  Among those collision, twelve people were killed and nearly 700 were injured.   

Grocer Grade has been the site of fatal crashes related to icy conditions and has been closed in the past when the CHP and Caltrans deem it to be too hazardous.

"Buttonwillow CHP will work with Caltrans during this winter storm to monitor roadway conditions on Grocer Grade," Taylor said Monday afternoon."There is currently no plan to close the highway but that can change if weather conditions deteriorate.  Motorists are encouraged to check the CHP or Caltrans website or call 1(800)GAS-ROAD for current roadway closure information."

Taylor offered the following advice if you have to drive in icy conditions::

If you find yourself driving on ice and begin to slide, remain calm, take your foot off the accelerator and do not hit the brakes or make any sudden movements with the steering wheel.  If conditions are too dangerous to continue, drivers are encouraged to try and find a safe location to park their vehicle.  Do not stop on the roadway or on the shoulder.   

•If freezing rain is expected, drivers should consider putting off their trip or take the following precautions:

•Ensure the vehicle’s exterior lights and windows are clean, especially the windshield.

•Drive with the vehicle’s headlights on to increase visibility.

• Use low gears, especially on hills to help keep traction.

• Drive slowly and do not use cruise control.

•Increase your following distance behind other vehicles.