NWS Issues Statement on Freezing Fog Tuesday, Mountain Tops Warmer Than Valleys

Published Tuesday, December 20, 2016 at 10:52 am
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A view from Howards Knob, App Ski Mountain rises up out of the low-lying clouds. Photographer Jan Todd took this photo from Howards Knob.

By Jesse Wood

This morning, the National Weather Service issued a special weather statement about freezing fog, which is expected to burn off by mid-morning. The warning expires at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

“Areas of patchy freezing fog still persist this morning across parts of southeast West Virginia, the western New River Valley, Mountain Empire of Virginia, Grayson Highlands and the adjacent northwestern mountains of North Carolina,” the statement reads. “Visibilities have been at or near one-quarter mile at times this morning. The fog should begin to thin out and erode through mid morning with sunshine and daytime heating, leading to improving visibility.”

RaysWeather.com noted in its forecast discussion: “Clearing skies overnight led to the development of freezing fog and mist this morning.”

The temperature this morning was warmer on the mountaintops than the lower regions, a phenomenon known as a temperature inversion. RaysWeather.com’s weather station at Snake Mountain, for example, which stands above 5,500 feet at a couple peaks, reached a low of 36 degrees at about 3 a.m.

This was about 20 degrees higher than the station recorded in Banner Elk, which recorded a low of 16.9 degrees at about 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday. Here are a few other low temperatures recorded on Tuesday morning”

  • Boone: 24.7
  • Beech: 34.1
  • Sugar Mountain top: 32.5
  • Valle Crucis: 27.2
  • Deep Gap: 23 degrees

The foggy conditions on Tuesday morning created a Kodak moment for photographer Jan Todd, who lives on Howards Knob. At nearly 4,400 feet, Todd captured the fog in the Boone valley, a magical scene: “I thought I had died and woke up in heaven this morning.”

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From Howards Knob, photographer Jan Todd captures the low-lying fog in Boone. Grandfather Mountain is stoic in the background.

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