Fog in southeast Louisiana: Another advisory likely Thursday, flights canceled and delayed
As dense fog and low visibility continue to contribute to dozens of flight delays and highway traffic, forecasters warn that seasonal weather patterns could leave south Louisiana blanketed in fog most mornings for the rest of the week.
The region was under multiple fog advisories in the last week, including on Wednesday through 10 a.m. Kevin Gilmore, National Weather Service meteorologist for Baton Rouge and New Orleans, said it is likely that the forecasters issue another dense fog advisory Thursday morning and that foggy conditions persist each morning until a cold front comes through the region late this weekend.
Dense Fog Advisory continues through 10 AM this morning. Travel this morning should be done with extra caution as dense fog hinders visibility on the road. Slow down and allow extra room between you and the car in front of you! #LAwx #MSwx pic.twitter.com/TLUjZUycSa— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) December 8, 2021
Gilmore attributed the fog to a warm front coming off the Gulf of Mexico and stalling along the coast of Louisiana.
“We see these fronts sometimes lose steam and stall out around the Gulf Coast, (recede), and then they eventually return back north as a warm front,” Gilmore said. “When that happens we get some of that warm moist air surging back north and that can help with the development of fog.”
The fog has been particularly concerning for those on their morning commute, and visibility has been worse for motorists driving routes near bodies of water, Gilmore said.
Causeway officials responded to the fog by closing the left northbound lane and changing the right lane’s speed limit to 45 mph. Slowdowns were also an issue for the I-10 Twin Span Bridge connecting New Orleans to Slidell.
Rodney Mallett, a spokesperson for Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, said motorists driving during a fog advisory should be particularly mindful of their surroundings after officials reported more fatal crashes this Thanksgiving holiday than they’ve seen in seven years.
“We all know that distracted driving is leading to more and more crashes,” Mallett said. “You can just see people on their phone on the highways and not paying attention. When the weather conditions change or aren’t what you’re used to, it becomes more of a hazard.”
He urged drivers to use their low beams, use Waze or Google GPS apps, which pull in alerts from DOTD, to find alternative routes, or leave their destinations earlier than usual.
The fog is causing problems at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, where dozens of flights have been delayed or canceled.
“Low visibility conditions continue to impact flights’ ability to arrive at MSY,” a tweet from airport officials said. “Weather conditions are being closely monitored, and once it improves, airlines will be able to safely arrive.”
In a later tweet from MSY, flights began safely arriving and departing MSY just before noon, but because of the impact to multiple early morning flights, at least 20 departures and 20 arrivals are still listed as delayed on the airport’s website.
More foggy mornings could continue to be problematic for the airport, officials told the Times-Picayune, due to a piece of equipment that helps some planes through fog being offline. The navigation system tool could be out of service for the rest of 2021 due to taxiway construction.