How Unusual is All This Fog? (1/20/2010)

By: NWS Wichita

How Unusual is All This Fog?

Dense fog photo


Many have asked... is it unusual to have this much fog?  Have we ever had this many days with dense fog before?  Dense fog is not tracked as closely as temperatures or precipitation, but we can shed a bit of light through the dense fog with a few facts.

 What's Normal?

The map below shows the average number of days with dense fog across the United States.  According to this map, the average number of days with dense fog across central and eastern Kansas is 10 to 15, with slighty more days across western Kansas.  Dense fog is defined as fog that reduces visibility to 1/4 statute mile or less.

Map of Average
 Dense Fog Days

This image was found at


How Unusual Is It?

There are several instances of dense fog for 3 days in a row.  Beyond 3 days, dense fog becomes much more unusual, at least at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport where climatology records are longer.

It is unusual for this area to experience several days in a row of dense fog.  Looking back to January of 1960 at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, there were 9 other stretches of days with dense fog similar to this one. The most recent was in October, 2003.  Dense fog was reported on October 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th.  During that stretch, there were 5 days in a row with dense fog observations at the airport.  This year, the dense fog began on January 12th.  As of January 20th, we have seen 7 days in a row, and a total of 8 days with dense fog observations. It is hard to say when this stretch of dense fog will be gone for good, but needless to say it is an unusual weather pattern for this part of the country.


Year Numer of Consecutive Days with Dense Fog Total Number of Days with Dense Fog Consecutive (Or Nearly Consecutive) Dates with Dense Fog Observations
2010 7 8 January 12th, 14-20
2003 5 7 October 3-7, 9,10
1994 4 4 December 22-25
1992 4 4 December 27-30
1983 6 6 February 8-13
1982 4 6 February 12, 13, 15-18
1974 4 4 January 17-20
1972 5 5 January 19-23
1969 4 4 January 19-22



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