Extreme Temperature Diary- Tuesday October 24th, 2023/Main Topic: How Climate Dominoes Can Fall Leading to “Super Fog”

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: How Climate Dominoes Can Fall Leading to “Super Fog”

Dear Diary. An old adage goes that one learns something new everyday. As of this Monday in all of my near half century of being a meteorologist, I had never heard of the term “super fog.” Tragically, it affected many people near New Orleans Monday morning. Super fog we now know is a combination of regular misty fog with wildfire smoke, forming a dense material that can limit visibility to no more than ten feet, far more dense that regular fog.

The consequence of this super fog incident was at least seven deaths with well over a hundred injuries along a stretch of I-55 in southern Louisiana, not to mention hundreds of vehicles wrecked beyond repair, from a huge car pileup. Some of these people won what are termed “Darwin Awards,” or when people do things that are really stupid with the end result being their deaths…a little survival of the fittest adage. We know of many other car pileups because people were driving way too fast in fog, but this one really stands out as one of the worst that I know of.

There are some climate connections here. Let’s look at cause and effect to see these tie-ins. Over this past summer most of our heat domes set up over the south-central United States, producing historic heat. These in turn created drought and then wildfires, with Louisiana being the state affected the most with wildfires. These wildfires were still smoldering as late as this October. The combination of smoke from the fires and fog rolling in from the Gulf of Mexico produced the super fog. So, we can conclude that in a cooler climate, this super fog incident probably would not have occurred.

Of course, historically human produced smoke has combined with fog to produce smog, that thankfully due to pollution controls is mostly in our past:

Here are more details about yesterday’s big car pileup from ABC news:

‘Super fog’ made of fog, marsh fire smoke blamed for traffic pileups, road closures – ABC News (go.com)

‘Super fog’ made of fog, marsh fire smoke blamed for traffic pileups, road closures

Authorities say at least seven people have been killed after a “superfog” of smoke from south Louisiana marsh fires and dense fog caused multiple massive car crashes involving 158 vehicles

By The Associated Press

October 23, 2023

In this aerial photo, responders are seen near wreckage in the aftermath of a multi-vehicle pileup on I-55 in Manchac, La., Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. A “superfog” of smoke from south Louisiana marsh fires and dense morning fog caused multiple traffic crashes involving scores of cars. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — At least seven people were killed Monday after a “superfog” of smoke from marsh fires and dense morning fog caused a series of wrecks on Interstate 55 near New Orleans that left a long stretch of mangled and scorched cars, trucks and tractor-trailers.

An estimated 158 vehicles were involved and 25 people injured, according to the Louisiana State Police, who warned the death toll could climb as first responders worked into the night looking for victims, the smell of burnt wreckage still heavy in the air.

Vehicles were crushed, piled atop each other and engulfed by flames. Some people got out of their vehicles and stood on the side of the road or on the roofs of their cars looking in disbelief at the disaster, while others cried out for help.

Clarencia Patterson Reed was driving with her wife and niece and could see people waving their hands for her to stop, but when she did her car was hit from behind and on the side by two other vehicles, she told the The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate.

“It was ‘Boom. Boom.’ All you kept hearing was crashing,” Reed said. She was able to scramble out of her car, but her wife was pinned inside and injured her leg and side.

Another driver Christopher Coll, said he was already braking when a pickup truck “drove up on top of my work trailer and took me for a ride.”

Coll could smell smoke as he heard the sounds of crashing cars and popping tires. He was able to kick open his passenger door to escape and then helped others — pulling out one person through a car window.

While 25 people were transported to the hospital, with injuries ranging from minor to critical, others sought medical aid on their own, authorities said.

Gov. John Bel Edwards asked for prayers “for those hurt and killed” on Monday and issued a call for blood donors to replenish dwindling supplies.

Louisiana State Police shared aerial photos on their Facebook page showing the crashed cars and extensive debris on both northbound and southbound lanes of the elevated interstate, which passes over swamp and open water between lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas.

As of Monday afternoon, state troopers were still working “to notify families, investigate the exact causes of the crashes” and coordinate with the state’s transportation department to have the bridge inspected.

Traffic backed up for miles in both directions on I-55. The lack of visibility also prompted closures of parts of I-10 and the 24-mile (39-kilometer) Lake Pontchartrain Causeway at times.

School buses were summoned to transport stranded motorists from the accident sites. At midday, state police told reporters at the scene that one vehicle went over the highway guardrail and into the water, but the driver escaped unharmed.

The National Weather Service said there were multiple wetland fires in the region. Smoke from the fires mixed with fog to create a “superfog.” Visibility improved as the fog lifted, according to the agency, but similarly dangerous conditions could occur in coming days.


Here are some other “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:

Here is More Climate and Weather News from Tuesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Today’s News on Sustainable, Traditional Polluting Energy from Fossil Fuel, and the Green Revolution:

More from the Weather Department:

More on the Environment:

More on Other Science and the Beauty of Earth and this Universe:

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Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”

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