Fog will get worse before it gets better

Ridge of high pressure expected to begin breaking down Sunday, with sunny days to follow

Staff and The Associated PressOctober 25, 2013 

Another blanketing cover of fog descended over the region Thursday morning, covering the entire South Sound including the Capitol campus in Olympia.

STEVE BLOOM/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Day after day of fog around South Sound have prompted labels of Fogtober or Fogmageddon, and Facebook posts of landmarks rising eerily above a blanket of mist.

The pattern, created by a high pressure system, will be even more persistent Friday and into the weekend, before being moved out for clearing skies early next week.

The fog has been more than a topic of conversation. The Coast Guard says a Washington state ferry nearly collided with a fishing boat in the fog Thursday morning near Clinton.

Spokesman Jordan Akiyama in Seattle says the ferry Cathlamet had just left on its Puget Sound crossing to Mukilteo, about 10:35 a.m. when it nearly hit the 60-foot fishing boat near the Clinton terminal because of the poor visibility.

He says ferry passengers were told to brace for impact. The 328-foot ferry made a hard turn to avoid a collision then continued on its way.

Akiyama said the fishing boat was in the wrong and did not have the automated identification system the Coast Guard uses to monitor vessel traffic.

This month’s fog is related to a high-pressure system over the region working with an inversion, National Weather Service meteorologist Josh Smith said.

To get fog, you need clear skies and winds that aren’t strong, both of which high-pressure systems usually cause, Smith said. An inversion helps keep the fog in place, he said.

The several weeks of high pressure, lack of rain, and dense low clouds and fog are very strange for this time of year, University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass said in a Sunday blog post titled “Fogmageddon.”

“I have forecast here for many decades, and I can not remember a situation that is even close,” he wrote. “The underlying cause? An extraordinary persistent ridge of high pressure over the eastern Pacific and West Coast.”

That ridge is forecast to begin to break down Sunday, allowing colder air aloft to mix out the low-level moisture and destroy the inversion, according to the weather service.

Drier air will bring cooler overnight temperatures and a chance of sunshine Monday and Tuesday.

Staff writers Jerre Redecker and Alexis Krell contributed to this report.

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