Ice Fog

The transition to winter here in the North East made me think of our time in Alaska.

F-4 Phantom Landing in Alaska

When we lived in Anchorage, winter came early, nearly always at the end of September.  It was then that there appeared what the locals called “Termination Dust” on the Chugach Mountains to the north of the city.  We could clearly see its arrival:  one day the mountains were dark, the next the peaks were covered with a coating of new snow.  So winter began and didn’t end until the last part of May.

Still winter wasn’t as bad as many think.  In our part of Alaska the city was situated on the Cook Inlet, which moderated the climate.   The added bonus of winter in Alaska was Ice Fog.  Ice  Fog usually occurs under specific conditions: humidity near 100% as temperature drops below 32 °F. This allows ice crystals to form in the air, which then settle and coat  surfaces.

This was a great time to grab the camera and go out in the wild areas near the city as the sun rose.





As the sun crept barely above the horizon the ice began to glow in a magical way.  The air was still and the only sound was the crunching of the snow, which also was covered in the ice crystals.  Everywhere you turned there was something to capture on film.


Still while this was truly beautiful in the woodlands and fields,  the Ice Fog often contributed to horrendous traffic accidents on the local roads.  I am not sure if these were caused by people looking at the scenery or by the roads themselves being coated.   In any case it was wise to avoid the most heavily traveled roads until later in the day when the situation improved.

I have experienced Ice Fog in our part of New York state when the weather conditions were just right, but never on the scale of the Alaskan Ice Fog.

When the ice coated nearly everything in sight, the effect was magical.




About jenorv

John E. Norvell is a retired Air Force Lt Colonel, decorated air combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and former Assistant Professor of American and Military History at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has written freelance for the Washington Post, the Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, and for several newspapers around the country.
This entry was posted in 43 TFS, Air Force, Alaska, Alaskan Air Command, American History, Anchorage, Anchorage Alaska and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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