Photos taken by Jonathan May (Twitter: @jmay11) from the 29th floor balcony of One Commerce Square downtown (shown below) captured the essence of the surreal sight. Note that even the Hernando-DeSoto Bridge carrying I-40 traffic is nearly completely enveloped in the fog. The bottom photo is taken looking southeast, away from the river, and shows that a "branch" of the fog had separated from the river and drifted east of the FedExForum towards the eastern portions of downtown.
|Process of steam fog creation, courtesy USA Today.|
Air temperatures over the water were in the mid 30s, while the temperature of the water was likely 20 degrees warmer. Fortunately, temperatures stayed just above freezing downtown, but had they been a few degrees colder, steam fog can quickly produce "freezing fog," which leads to black ice, particularly on bridges. A few degrees cooler and this spectacle could have become a nightmare for commuters!
How can you create fog in the same manner steam fog is formed? Exhale outside on a cold morning! See your breath? You just mixed warm moist air into cold dry air. You made steam fog!
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