Sunday, January 23, 2011

Your Daily Lesson in Weather

For your Sunday special, you are going to get a lesson in fog.

(If you are stopping by for the first time, please know I usually don't talk about weather, I promise.)

Fog is a curious thing.

I don't know why I am telling you about fog today, other than the fact that when people who do not live in the central valley of California hear that we have school delays, and even school cancellations due to foggy days, they think we are nuts.

So I guess I am writing this so if you ever meet someone from the central valley of California you won't think they're nuts, atleast not for their big fog stories.

There are different kinds of fog. I don't know what they are called, but I know the kind we have is bad.

A semi-foggy morning. Visibility at about 300 feet.

Our valley is an agricultural center, so the city is surrounded and even intersected by fields. These fields are breeding ground for moisture, and fog. In the central valley we are blessed with many warm sunny days even in the dead of winter. Unfortunately, what this does is warm up the damp ground, which causes moisture to evaporate and catch in the air just above the ground. Even here, in California, our nights get cold in the winter. When the temperature drops, those little droplets of evaporated moisture freeze and hang close to the ground. The result is fog, with sometimes 0 visibility.

Every school in the valley has a foggy day plan.  Plan A is a 2 hour delay, Plan B is a 3, Plan C a 4, and Plan D means buses are cancelled. Schools actually factor in extra classroom hours into their school calendar because the  foggy days are inevitable.

It may sound silly, but really, 0 visibility is not fun to drive in. Incase you wondering, 0 visibility means you can't see. Anything. But fog. People around here refer to heavy fog as pea soup. I don't know about you, but I don't want to eat or drive in pea soup, but if I had to choose, I would rather eat it. Because believe me, driving in it is not fun.

Although kids don't mind the fog so much, it really does bring devastation every year. Even though school buses are cancelled, businesses continue as usual. And, for most of us teachers, we must report to work at our normal time waiting for students whose parents choose to drop them off.

As we speak we are in the middle of our foggy season. It brings about daily pile-ups and flight delays. Getting to work on time most mornings means leaving 30 minutes earlier than usual, and driving with my window down, head out, in order to see the line on the road (and making sure I stay on it).

Once the children do get to school, we often times have to keep our students in from recess. Because, lets face it, sometimes autistic kids want to run free. And if we want to catch them we have to be able to see them. We haven't lost any children yet (atleast not in the fog ;), and we don't plan on it.

So there you have it, your lesson in fog. Any curious weather in your area that makes people thing you are nuts?


The Burgess family said...

This is interesting! We've never had much fog where I live (Rocky Mtns), I mean we get some but 0 visibility is pretty rare. We get snow, wind, and cold COLD temps where we live, and it is pretty regular so nothing is ever cancelled or delayed :( I get jealous of other folks' snow days because we get snowy days, but not "snow days!"

Rebecca said...

I definitely wish we had fog days, where nobody had to go anywhere...but I have to say, no matter how foggy it is, I would rather face that than icy roads and always being cold. I really really hate cold! And to have cold and snow with no snow days? Not worth it :)My family lives in Colorado, and when I visit in the winter I think I am dying. (Although snow is beautiful :)