New Orleans ‘Super Fog’ Snared More than 160 Vehicles in Fiery Pileup

Source: Gary Curcio / Louisiana State Police

Fog can be a dangerous thing, but there’s something even more dangerous than regular fog. The residents of New Orleans recently had to deal with what looked like normal fog but was something more sinister. Let’s take a look at this ‘super-fog’ and how it affected these residents of New Orleans.

Zero Visibility Leads to Tons of Accidents

Source: New Orleans Fire Department

A “super fog” that rolled across New Orleans blocked visibility along one of the highways, the I55. Unfortunately, drivers on the road decided they would just keep going despite being unable to see too far ahead.

Super Fog = Super Accidents

Source: CBS 19 News

The result? Hundreds of accidents all along the I55. The pileup was estimated to involve more than 150 vehicles, and led to a confirmed seven deaths so far.

What is a ‘Super Fog’?

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

A fog is actually a cloud formed close to the earth’s surface. When the earth’s surface radiates away heat, it cools the air closest to the ground. When that air cools, the water vapor in it condenses as fog.

What Can Super Fog Do?

Super fog is a combination of fog with particulate matter, like smoke, debris and other things suspended in the breeze. In this case, the fog interacted with a fire burning on private lands in Bayou Sauvage.

Source: Fox8live

Smoke particles attach to the fog, making it denser and more difficult to dissipate. It typically hangs over low terrain with light winds pushing it quickly across vast areas. With several regions suffering from a warmer-than-usual fall, there’s a good chance that super fog occurrences will increase.

Is Super Fog the Same As Smog?

Source: Al Jazeera

When you first think of how super fog is formed, it might be easy to mistake it for smog. After all, most people think smog is a mixture of fog and smoke, but the difference is in the type of smoke.

Essential Differences

Source: Louisiana State Police

Super fog is an organic occurrence involving debris or smoke from forest fires. Smog is a combination of pollutants, vehicle smoke, and industrial dust combined with this cloud formation. These elements, aside from the fog, are artificial. Thus, smog is a non-organic hazard, as opposed to super fog.

How Often Does Super Fog Occur?

Source: Met Office UK

Super fog isn,t a common weather occurrence by any means. In comparison, fog occurs relatively often and in a wide range of climates.

Is Super Fog a Direct Result of Fires?

Source: WSAZ News Channel 3

Over the last few months, we’ve seen an increased volume of super fog occurrences. Temperatures have made it easy for forest fires to happen, and fall leaves make for good fuel. Once those fires start and fog forms over the roads, their mixture will lead to super fog formation.

Are Fires Very Common in Louisiana Marshes?

When you hear about marshes, you don’t immediately think about fires, but that’s precisely what led to the super fog. While marshes are usually wetlands, they don’t always stay wet.

Source: Lang Elliott

As temperatures soar and evaporation happens from the marshlands, they dry out. This leads to a perfect set of conditions for a fire to occur. With no water nearby to control its spread, the fire can quickly get out of control. Even if it remains under control, there’s no stopping or containing the smoke it creates.

The Behavior of Super Fog

When super fog forms, the smoke particles attach to the condensed water vapor that makes up the fog cloud. This makes the fog cloud a lot denser, causing it to hang low over the ground.

Source: Reuters

When there is no wind, the super fog will sublimely sit where it is, finding ditches and other low-lying areas to cover. With a bit of light wind, the super fog will likely roll over hills, valleys, and even interstates like I55.

Tips for Driving in Super Fog

Ideally, if there’s a super fog in your area, you should avoid driving in it. However, because of how unexpectedly these banks of fog form, you might get caught in one and have to deal with driving in it. Here are a few tips to help.

Source: Montypeter/Shutterstock

Keep a few car-lengths distance from the back of the car in front of you. This allows you enough time to notice they have stopped, so you don’t have to slam on the brakes.

Make Sure You Are Getting Noticed On the Road

Drive with your lights on low beam. This also turns on your rear lights, allowing other cars behind you to notice you’re there. Your low-beam lights will tell those in front of you where you are without blinding them.

Source: welcomia/IStock

Use your windshield wipers and defrosters to obtain maximum distance visibility. Even then, you may not be able to see past a few feet in front of your car.

What Effect Does Super Fog Have On People?

Super fog, being a combination of smoke and fog, leads to some nasty respiratory problems.

Source: Maridav/Shutterstock

Among the symptoms of exposure include wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. Smoke may also contain carbon monoxide, which can lead to poisoning if inhaled for an extended period.

How Does Super Fog Affect Wildlife?

Source: Robert Strickland

Super fog can also make it difficult for animals who live in the area. Birds can lose sight while flying and accidentally run into buildings or cars.

How Super Fog Affects Food Sourcing for Animals

Source: mazai/Shutterstock

Other animals may find it challenging to find food in the super fog. Since it is denser than regular fog, it could take much longer to dissipate, leading to an extended period where these animals don’t have food.

A Scary New Reality?

Source: Discover Moose Jaw

Super fog has been happening a bit more frequently these days. It has led to several massive pile ups from people driving in it. Once fires remain out of control, super fog will continue to happen. Knowing what to do when a super fog rolls around is the best way to deal with it.

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Charlotte Clad

Written by Charlotte Clad

Charlotte Clad is a brilliant writer who possesses the remarkable ability to craft content that goes viral and leaves an indelible mark on readers. With an innate passion for storytelling and an unwavering commitment to her craft, Charlotte has consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity to captivate audiences worldwide.

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