Winter Wonderland

I was returning from a trip back to the Northern Virginia area where we previously lived to take care of some business when I ran into some 'weather' a half hour from the homestead. The roads around here are twisty up and down roller coasters and it's not uncommon for the elevation to change by several hundreds of feet within just a quarter mile or so.

As I began to ascend a ridge line I noticed strange ice formations on some of the grass and trees, which grew heavier as I continued to climb. It wasn't your normal ice, as you can see by the photos above and below, but whiter, thicker and fluffier. I quickly concluded that the fog that was rolling in and out must be freezing on some surfaces, causing the spectacular winter wonderland I was witness to.

The freezing fog phenomenon was limited to a pretty narrow band of elevation as well as location. The picture above was taken about 200 yards from where I was getting onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Yet a mile down the Parkway all traces of the frozen fog were gone. I suspect conditions were just a little bit too warm for the fog to freeze and the ice never appeared.

Below is a shot taken from the Parkway descending into a sheltered valley. In the foreground is a fence that is clearly free of frozen fog, yet looking out to the background you can see the trees and other areas are covered while other areas nearby both higher and lower are frozen fog free. Click on the image to enlarge.

Parkway Frozen FogBelow I share a close up of some roadside brush and weeds covered in the frozen fog. Note how the deposit of the fog is unpredictable even in area just 10 feet wide. None of the leaves on the surface of the hill itself have any ice, yet grass a few inches above the leaves show a coating of the frozen fog.

Close up Frozen FogThe next image below was taken from the warmth of my car on a blind curve. I snapped about a dozen shots, then thought better of my precarious position and drove away. No sooner did I put the car in motion, but someone came round the curve behind me and hit their brakes. I'm certain they were wondering who the fool was parked in the middle of their lane of travel.

In the image below note how thick the ice is on the individual branches of the tree as well as the ice on the fence to the right, yet how little there is on the fence to the left.  Same thing with the ice on the grass to the right and how little to the left.

Frozen Fog TreeThe next image below is of a man made pond on the side of the road with what I assume is a pump house in the back ground. Again it is interesting to see what has been covered with frozen fog and what has not. This was one of my favorite photos that I took that afternoon.

Pump HouseYou can really see the dramatic change in elevation in this image below. There simply is no flat land around here, just more hilly or less hilly. Once again if you study the picture you can see how the fog froze in some places and not others.

Frozen LandscapeFinally the picture below may look familiar. The framing is slightly to the right of the image at the top of this page and zoomed in a bit. It looks like the ice is growing out of the fence posts in the mid ground while the background now includes the house to which the barns in the top picture belong to.  Check out the pine tree in the upper right corner. The back side has no ice indicating the direction the fog was flowing while it was freezing.

Frozen HouseWe  are expecting a snowstorm over the next few days that is expected to drop a foot or more of snow, our first real snowstorm since moving here. I hope to be able to bring some winter wonderland pictures as soon as I can dig ourselves out. See you soon.

Cognitive Dissonance

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