What is freezing fog and how can I prepare for it?

Put simply, freezing fog is fog that is composed of supercooled water droplets that are below freezing temperature but still liquid. Once this freezing fog makes contact with a surface, it will freeze and form ice, thus giving the weather phenomenon its name.

Is freezing fog dangerous?

The super cooled water droplets that make up freezing fog can be as cold as – 40 degrees Fahrenheit (which is also – 40 degrees Celsius). Let’s be honest… Walking into freezing fog isn’t going to kill you if you’re properly covered. In our modern civilization: Freezing fog is most dangerous because it can lead to black ice forming. Driving through freezing fog induced black ice at a high speed could lead to an accident that could kill you. For this reason, local governments regularly issue freezing fog advisories to the general public to warn of such issues. Take heed and drive slower than normal.

How can I prepare for freezing fog?

Depending on where you live in the world, freezing fog is probably a rare occurrence. I know I didn’t first hear about freezing fog, or “ice fog” as it is sometimes called, until I was almost thirty years old. Even rare events are worth preparing for.

One good thing about freezing fog is that it usually only forms in the mornings because conditions for its formation are better in the twilight hours. That means that the best way to prepare for freezing fog is to make sure that you don’t need to go outside during the freezing fog.

You know that scene in The Day After Tomorrow, where the polar vortex comes down in the eye of a land hurricane and instantly freezes everything including the fuel inside fuel lines? Freezing fog is nothing like that. It’s easily managable with a little bit of foresight.

Heat is your friend. Wait for the sun to come out. Maybe consider studded tires if you must commute during the morning hours where freezing fog and black ice are most common during the winter months.

tldr; stay inside if you can; bundle up and drive slow if you need to be out in freezing fog.

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