This is an amazing photo from Panama City this morning. No, it is not hurricane sea spray.
Let me explain what you are seeing:
If you’ve even been on an airplane when the humidity is high, you have probably seen cloud or cloud fragments on the top of a wing. This is due to the pressure falling (causing the humidity to rise to 100%) as the air travels over the top of the wing faster than the air under the wing. That drop in pressure lifts the wing and the entire plane.
So, in this case, the ambient outdoor humidity was just below 100%. When the air is forced to accelerate over the hotels, the humidity goes up to 100% just like it does over a wing.
I’ve never seen this before with hotels. Really cool shot.
ADDITION: Found a photo of cloud over the top of wings.
Believe it or not, there is a car in the other lane with its headlights on. It is so foggy (visibility is about 100 ft.) that it is difficult to see the traffic signals, especially when they are green. Photo taken at 9:45am in north Wichita.
The gray areas on the map are under “dense fog advisories.” The hunter green colors in North Dakota and near the Illinois-Wisconsin border are “freezing fog advisories.” Right now, Kansas City International Airport has 45 minute arrival delays due to fog.
The reason the fog has been so persistent is that it is so wet in the central U.S. Here is the latest (a new one out tomorrow) Palmer Drought Index.
Note the correspondence between the green and greenish colors and the dense fog advisories. Because we have not had any strong cold fronts or strong cold fronts move through the region, the stagnant air picks up the moisture from the wet ground and melting snow and becomes saturated. Once the air is saturated near the ground or aloft, a cloud forms. Fog is just a cloud on the ground.
Note: The drought depicted in the Southwest will alleviated over the next ten days.
Gray = dense fog advisory. While O’Hare is not included, they have a ceiling of 200 ft. as I write this, which often means flight delays. Check your airline’s web site before you head for the airport this morning. The hunter green color is a freezing fog advisory. Might get some hoarfrost.