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What is this sorcery?


For the past two days, we’ve had intermittent bouts of a thing the locals call ‘freezing fog’. I don’t remember encountering this in Rhode Island (or Tennessee, for that matter).

Super thick, super cold. Visibility was so bad yesterday afternoon, I had to go slower and slower on my bike because I couldn’t see jack. Turns out, the fog was hitting my glasses and progressively coating them with ice.

Ohhhhh…I guess that’s what makes it freezing fog.

The picture isn’t mine. It’s from this Yahoo article about the phenomenon. Only, they call it ‘freezing smog’ and claim it’s down to still air and pollution, with so many people burning coal and wood for heat during this cold snap.

I call bullshit. I don’t know what it is on the Continent, but it’s just plain old (clean breathing) freezing fog here in the rural South of England. Most of the people in the comments are calling bullshit, too, but only because it’s Yahoo and nobody trusts them.

For the kzillionth time, wouldn’t it be great if there were a news organization that earned a reputation for reporting the facts as accurately as possible, so we didn’t have to squint at Every Single Thing we read?


Comment from AliceH
Time: January 24, 2017, 8:44 pm

Yeah, freezing fog is a thing where I live (the Ozarks). Doesn’t happen a lot. I suspect if we had any smog, it wouldn’t happen at all, since the freezing point for impure water/fog is lower than clean water/fog.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: January 24, 2017, 9:23 pm

But smog is smoke and fog (another suitcase word).

Is this freezing fog stuff forming hoarfrost or is the air too still?

Weather.com says freezing fog is fog with an air temperature of zero degrees (that’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit for those of us not stuck with such an insane way to measure temperatures! Sheesh, the idea that zero is where fresh water freezes! Who thinks of these things! ).

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: January 24, 2017, 9:31 pm

I hate Tule fog. You are driving along on the highway in bright sunlight and all of a sudden hit fog so thick you can barely see in front of you. It’s a killer. 🙁

Comment from Gromulin
Time: January 24, 2017, 10:06 pm

Whenever I hear moaning and bitching about ‘particulate emissions’ coming from fireplaces, and I hear about it A LOT here in the Peoples Republic of San Mateo county, it makes me sangry. Thats a combo of sad and angry. They are trying to ban wood burning fireplaces all over California. Angry, because FUCK YOU, you’ll take my fire from my cold dead hands (literally). And sad, because it shows that progressivism is at odds with evolution. Filled with the recessive genes from hipster cavemen that got some smoke in their eyes and declared “NO! FIRE BAD!, USE SOLAR ENERGY FOR WARM!” and promptly froze to death.

Comment from Niña
Time: January 24, 2017, 10:18 pm

Years ago, when my much younger sister was a new driver, we hit a patch of dense tule fog on I-5. My sister, who was driving, freaked out, pulled to the shoulder, and refused to drive any more in the fog. Flat out refused. It takes some getting used to, and as Ric Fan sez, is dangerous.

In these parts we call the ice that such freezing fogs leave on surfaces pogonip. Absolutely nothing to do with smog, given how common it is in places like the beautiful Nevada desert. Pretty, but cold!

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: January 24, 2017, 10:20 pm

So I’m picturing Mary Poppins, on a bike, singing in a freezing fog.

“The Streeets are obscured by freezing fog.”

Ok, that might be too many memes in one stream.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: January 24, 2017, 10:23 pm

Burt would have to de-ice her umbrella before he allowed her to take off.

Why did I just have a bunch of dirty thoughts when I typed that?

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: January 24, 2017, 10:30 pm

Nope, shoulda been Singing in a Fog,

“I’m siiiinnnnngggggiiing in a fog” Loudly, to warn pedestrians, instead of that little bell on the handle bars; ching, ching. Like a fog horn on a large maritime vessel.

Look out, I’m coming. ching. Can’t see a thing, Ching, Ching.

Sorry, I was just reading Ernie Pyle in England 99c on the kindle and he talks about finding your way around London during the blackout.

Comment from Mr. Dave
Time: January 24, 2017, 10:43 pm

Go down to the bog and warm your feet.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: January 24, 2017, 10:45 pm

Wow. I was just browsing over at the wikipedia “Who died today” page, as am wont to do and noticed the death of an apparently highly-regarded Greek theater director, Spyros Evangelatos. As I made my rounds of Web Sites With Which I Keep Up, I noticed that “portmanteau” had crept into the conversation. “Gadzooks”, exclaimed I, “but here’s a real life portmanteau!”
“Hello, my name is Spyros Heavenly Italian Ice Cream!”
As God is my witness, that’s how it hit me, right off the bat! I also got the “ice” part in there, too.
RIP Mr. Evangelato (love saying the name!)… no disrespect intended.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 24, 2017, 10:54 pm

I do sing on my bike! I’ve got about a mile’s worth of straight, flat farmland to bike across, with nary a house in sight. I sing my flipping lungs out.

Current selection: The Sewing Machine Song.

I love Betty Hutton. She sings like she’s coked to the eyeballs.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: January 24, 2017, 11:32 pm

US Military Bases ‘Taking Down Obama Portraits, Replacing Them With Trump Memes’


Comment from Veeshir
Time: January 25, 2017, 12:20 am

All I know is it’s the warmist winter here I’ve seen in AZ.
It hasn’t cleared 70 in weeks and this week it hasn’t/won’t clear 60. I moved to a desert to get away from cold!
I’m gonna sue Al Gore.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: January 25, 2017, 1:23 am

Ms. Weasel, didn’t you electrify your bicycle? Motor and battery? How did that work out? I don’t remember you telling us about well it works.

With a motor/generator, the thing should recharge going down hill.

Comment from dissent555
Time: January 25, 2017, 1:32 am

Sounds like good Scotch drinkin’ weather to me.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: January 25, 2017, 1:50 am

Sounds like Jack the Ripper weather to me. 😀

Comment from catnip
Time: January 25, 2017, 5:08 am

We’ve had a winter to remember in this low elevation river valley in the NW. After a very mild November, a sudden few inches of snow on warm ground on Dec. 15th, slight daytime thaws, nightly temps in single digits, daily flurries, etc….until we had, for seven weeks, a foot of crusty snow covering 2 inches of ice. It’s melting now. The golfers are still cussing.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 25, 2017, 10:18 am

I didn’t electrify it, Skandia — it’s electric from the factory. So it’s heavy as hell (no fun to ride without the motor). I did have an issue with the motor, but it was under warranty and they fixed it.

It can be a cranky beast, but I love it. It has cut my ‘commute’ from half an hour to ten minutes.

But that thing about it recharging on the downhills? Doesn’t happen. Apparently, the amount of energy you would recover would be too small to justify the circuitry required to make it happen.

Some electric bike heads will get really cranky with you if you ask that question FYI 🙂

Comment from Mad Ivan
Time: January 25, 2017, 2:46 pm

Ms. Weasel – may be off-topic, but…

If you pedal your electric bike, does that recharge the battery? Or must you be tethered to the wall to get the juice box refilled?

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: January 25, 2017, 11:33 pm

We had a heavy, wet snow here in WI today, at 31 degrees. The trip home from work this AM was like driving on grease.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 26, 2017, 8:24 am

No such thing as off topic, Ivan. If people are talking, I’m happy.

The battery comes out and gets plugged in to the wall once a week. I’ve had the physics explained to me, but I’m not scientifically inclined — but apparently, the math doesn’t work on trickle charging it mechanically.

Comment from Mad Ivan
Time: January 26, 2017, 3:44 pm

> I’ve had the physics explained to me, but I’m not scientifically inclined — but
> apparently, the math doesn’t work on trickle charging it mechanically.

Curious that. I’ve ridden in several Toyota Priuses (Priusi??) and there’s a clever video screen in the dash that can show (among other internal details) the power flow from the gas engine, to and from the battery, and to and from the motor/generator attached to the wheels. One of the tricks to getting such good “gas” mileage out of hybrid cars is to recover the energy stored in the momentum of the vehicle back into electrical power as you slow down. (Also prolongs the brake life.)

I’m surprised that electric bicycles don’t do the same tricks. The weight of the additional electronics would be negligible; the cost might well be the issue.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 26, 2017, 9:03 pm

I think it’s more that a bike and rider aren’t heavy enough to generate significant power. All’s I know is, if you bring it up on electric biking forums, guys get really pissy about it.

Comment from Veeshir
Time: January 26, 2017, 10:44 pm

I’d say it’s speed.
I doubt you go over 30mph all that often on a bike and I’m not sure how much juice you get out of a slower turney-thing (technical term).

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