Fog in Northern Arizona

We woke up to a foggy morning in Flagstaff and a quick check of satellite data clearly showed widespread fog across northeastern Arizona but not across the remainder of the state. We quickly broke out of the fog and into sunny skies as we drove south of the Mogollon Rim for a trail run with our running group.

Visible satellite image showing widespread areas of fog across the west.
Visible satellite image showing widespread areas of fog across the west.

Intrigued by the fog, I traveled to the Grand Canyon in the late afternoon in hopes of getting some interesting photographs. At Yavapai Point on the South Rim there were few visitors. After all, who wants to see a canyon filled with fog! Visibility was on the order of a hundred meters or less and driving was an interesting challenge.

Fog at Yavapai Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park.
Fog at Yavapai Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park.

Leaving Yavapai Point, I drove east on the Rim Drive to the first pullout. Moments later, the fog briefly cleared and I could see the North Rim above the top of the fog. Then, just as quickly, it filled back in. A short while later, this clearing repeated itself. This time I captured an image that shows a vast expanse of fog filling the canyon and the North Rim just barely peeking above the fog.

A break in the fog along the South Rim, Grand Canyon.
A break in the fog along the South Rim, Grand Canyon.

A sea of fog fills the Grand Canyon and the North Rim peeks above the fog.
A sea of fog fills the Grand Canyon and the North Rim peeks above the fog.

Then it was time for some fun. I set the camera to take long exposures and shot a photo every time a car drove by. The red streaks of the vehicle tail lights and the fog being illuminated by the lights created interesting images.

Vehicle tail lights illuminate the fog on the South Rim, Grand Canyon.
Vehicle tail lights illuminate the fog on the South Rim, Grand Canyon.

A foggy night in northern Arizona

It’s still the rainy season but this is silly. The amount of rain that has fallen in Bellemont, Arizona, in August is quickly approaching eight inches. Meanwhile, a few miles away at the Flagstaff airport, a more reasonable two and one-half inches has fallen this month. Most of that rain in Bellemont has fallen in the past few days. As a result, the ground is fairly saturated and there is plenty of standing water. This produces good conditions for nighttime fog in the area.

 

Fog during the pre-dawn morning hours.
Fog during the pre-dawn morning hours.

The first image was taken well before sunrise with plenty of stars visible. More striking, however, is the patch of fog and low clouds on the right — nicely illuminated by the lights.

Early morning fog creeping down the hillside.
Early morning fog creeping down the hillside.

The next image was taken shortly after sunrise and shows the fog lurking on the hills above the flats of Bellemont. The trees poke out through the top and the light poles add some foreground texture to the image.