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Fog in winter: What’s the difference between freezing fog and ice fog?

Published: Monday, December 10, 2018 @ 11:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 @ 9:25 AM

Did you know supercooled droplets in fog can fall to temperatures near 14 degrees and remain in liquid form? That difference in temperature separates these two meteorological phenomena.

Did you know liquid droplets on a foggy winter morning can remain in liquid form in temperatures as low as 14 degrees?

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When fog occurs at temperatures between 14-32 degrees, it is given the name freezing fog. When these droplets touch objects near the surface, they freeze on contact. Freezing fog is often accompanied by freezing drizzle. If enough water droplets combine and fall to the surface, it is possible for freezing drizzle to accumulate a thin glaze of ice on sidewalks, trees, and even roads.

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Ice fog is a fog that is formed in temperatures generally below 14 degrees. At this temperature, the water droplets found in the fog cannot remain in liquid form. These tiny ice crystals do not freeze on contact with the surface as they are already frozen. In this case, if the ice fog is dense enough, a very light dusting of snow can accumulate at the surface.