Nfld. & Labrador

A mysterious fog has shrouded Newfoundland for days. Here's why

Here's the science behind the mist blocking sunlight from hitting swaths of the island.
Fog descended on parts of Newfoundland days ago and it's still here. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Cape Spear's iconic lighthouse normally cuts through the thickest Newfoundland weather.

It's the most eastern point in continental North America, and these days you can't even see it from shore.

A relentless blanket of mist has enshrouded swaths of the island this week, refusing to budge. It's led to tweets of caution from nervous drivers, memes and — for some — a disappointing Easter break.

Jack Sharpe was getting bored inside, hiding from the rain during his week off school. 

"We decided that we would go for a little picnic up here," he said, nestled in the back of his mom's SUV, playing games and trying to glimpse the ocean through the fog. 

"It's a really white wall in front of you. You can't see through it. You can't see the water. You can barely see the rocks."

The Sharpe family had planned to eat their picnic on a bench, but found the back of their car a little cosier. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

A few cars away, there were clusters of teenagers who also wanted out of the house on their time off.

Emma MacIsaac was betting on an awe-inspiring backdrop to document her latest dance moves.

"We came up just for a drive, and were making some TikToks," she said, referring to videos on a popular social media site. "There wasn't much of a view — it's kind of all grey."

Emma MacIsaac, right, wasn't getting much dancing done in the back seat of this car. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Other internet creators leapt at the meteorological aberration.

Newfoundland might boast the world's foggiest area (the off-coast Grand Banks region, according to the Farmer's Almanac), but it usually doesn't hang around the island for this long.

That makes the dreary spring visitor kind of a perfect target.

Memes like this one have popped up in response to days without blue skies. (Townie Memes/Facebook)



But where did it come from, and why won't it leave?

CBC meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler explains this particular breed of mist is known as a "Rex block," or more scientifically, advection fog.


"High pressure is sitting south of Greenland, and a low-pressure system is sitting south of the Maritimes, with nowhere to go because the ridge of high pressure is in the way," Brauweiler said.

"Until that ridge moves, the low will sit there and funnel all of the moisture our way in easterly winds."

So all that warm, moist air moving over a cold ocean cools the air to its dew point, forming clouds and leaving Newfoundlanders, well, making memes and waiting for it all to clear.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Jeremy Eaton


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