Cape May Winter Fog

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You know what the daylight will bring even before you get out of bed. The pinger on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal jetty tells you that you will be greeted by fog and this morning was no exception.

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Winter fog is not infrequent in Cape May.  This morning’s fog was particularly thick and much of the mid-Atlantic coast also was shrouded in fog.  At one time visibility was only about 200-250 yards.

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The fog was so dense this morning that Beach Ave and the ocean virtually disappeared. You could not see the Cape May canal from either of the  canal bridges.

What Causes Fog

Fog can be caused by combinations of different weather phenomena. The fog we see in Cape May most often starts at or just after sunset, following a warm day. The conditions must include a clear sky and relatively light winds.

This type of fog is called radiation fog and occurs as a result of rapid cooling overnight which condenses surface moisture into fog.

If there’s no heavy wind to scatter the fog,  it will develop into a deeper layer and remain present for several hours after sunrise.

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With moist ground and air temperatures descending from more than 50° F yesterday to a low of less than 37° F, the conditions were perfect for an exceptionally foggy morning along the oceanfront.

By mid-morning, the low winter sun broke through the fog and blue skies once again graced Cape May.

About Paul Kerlinger

Paul Kerlinger, Ph.D. is a scientist, author and nationally known expert on bird migration. He's done extensive studies on hawks, Snowy Owls and neotropical song birds. Kerlinger is the former director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, His books include How Birds Migrate and Flight Strategies of Migrating Hawks. He's an ardent fly fisherman and organic vegetable gardener.