Forecasters alert to dense fog in Palm Beach County

The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement this morning warning of dense fog for all of Palm Beach County.

Visibility is less than a half mile in coastal and western Palm Beach County.

Drivers should use low beam headlights and slow down while driving through the fog early this morning.

The statement is in effect through 7 a.m. but fog could linger until shortly after sunrise.

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Light fog on State Road 7 extension north of Okeechobee Boulevard Tuesday morning, April 2, 2013. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

Weather observations at Palm Beach International Airport reflect the fog started to form just before 5 a.m. as northwest winds stilled to 3 mph and the air temperature and dew point temperature met at 66 degrees.

The relative humidity shot to 100 percent and cloud heights plummeted from 3,000 feet to near ground level. Without strong winds or the sun’s dispersing rays, the low fog will linger.

The National Weather Service sends out a special weather statement, like the one this  morning, when visibility is reduced to one-half mile. If visibility dips to one-fourth mile, a fog advisory is issued.

Dense fog is rare in Florida. Between 2000 and 2011, NOAA’s storm events database recorded just 35 days during which dense fog was present statewide. But those incidences can be lethal.

The database lists five deaths and 17 injuries directly attributable to dense fog, while Palm Beach Post archives list multiple car accidents in which fog was involved.

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Dense fog obscures islands in the Intracoastal this morning. Photo by Eddie Ritz

In March 2007, Boynton Beach resident Anita Zoet died after her car plowed into an 18-wheeler on Florida’s Turnpike in heavy fog. Four others were also killed in the accident that included a 12-vehicle pileup.

A year earlier, two people were killed and 20 injured in western Palm Beach County when smoke combined with fog to reduce visibility on State Road 80 and U.S. 27.

Meteogram at PBIA shows where dew point temperature and air temperature meet, helping to initiate fog.

Meteogram at PBIA shows where dew point temperature and air temperature meet, helping to initiate fog.

Dense fog this morning obscures islands in the Intracoastal between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Photo by Eddie Ritz

Dense fog this morning starts to break up shortly after sunrise, but still obscures islands in the Intracoastal between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Photo by Eddie Ritz

Dense fog this morning obscures islands in the Intracoastal between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Photo by Eddie Ritz

Dense fog this morning obscures islands in the Intracoastal between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Photo by Eddie Ritz

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