What is steam fog?


MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – If you live near the coast, odds are you have seen fog over the water that almost looks like smoke.

Meteorologist John Nodar and I (Meteorologist Caroline Carithers) noticed some of this “steam fog” on the Gulf of Mexico on our camera network last Friday. This also can be called “sea smoke” or “steam fog.”

This starts happening more often around this time of year when the Gulf waters are still warm but the air is cooled by reoccurring cold fronts. Steam fog forms just like any other fog or cloud. The warm water evaporates, hits the cooler air, condenses, and forms a cloud/fog. Sometimes it can be rather dense, but other times it just looks like eerie smoke like last Friday.

If you are boating and you see steam fog, be cautious. Make sure you turn on all of your running lights, listen for other boats, and go very slowly.

Be on the lookout for steam fog in the next month or so, and send us your pictures.

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