Watch CBS News

Fog envelops Chicago lakefront in middle of sunny day, takes many by surprise

Surprise fog develops on Chicago lakefront
Surprise fog develops on Chicago lakefront 01:27

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A patch of fog enveloped parts of Chicago Friday afternoon, taking many by surprise in the middle of a sunny, pleasant day.

The National Weather Service said the dense fog over Lake Michigan in the Chicago area rolled in around 1:30 p.m., and threatened to cause visibility to drop below .75 mile. But the fog was expected to last no more than two hours.

The lakeside breeze on Friday was to credit for the fog. As land temperatures rose into the low to mid-80s, the hot rising air near the lakeshore was replaced by cooler air off the lake—in what is called a lake breeze.

Lake Michigan water temperatures are still in the low 60s, so that cool breeze forced the hotter and more humid air upwards until it condensed into low clouds.

The fog took many by surprise Friday afternoon. One woman who posted video from a balcony in Old Town wrote that the fog had completely enveloped the sky overhead within 45 seconds.

CBS 2 drone video showed the fog rolling in over Guaranteed Rate Field and the Dan Ryan Expressway.

The fog also enveloped the skies at Wrigley Field as the Cubs played the St. Louis Cardinals.

Chicago is not known for fog in the way some other cities like San Francisco are. There, summer mornings are defined by a fog that develops as a result of the interaction between ocean currents and wind patterns in the North Pacific.

But fog has famously appeared by surprise in Chicago before—most notably on New Year's Eve 1988, when the Bears were playing a playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field in the famous "Fog Bowl." described the fog that Saturday afternoon as "biblical-looking"—and noted that it reached the point where players couldn't even see their coaches or fans, or sometimes each other.

Coach Mike Ditka later called the fog "the strangest thing you'd ever seen," the NFL reported.

Nonetheless, the Bears won the game 20-12.

And while San Francisco's legendary fog is nicknamed "Karl"—in a relatively new development that published reports say references the 2003 movie "Big Fish"—fog in Chicago is associated with a different Carl who spells his name with a C—Sandburg by name.

Carl Sandburg's poem, "Fog,"

first appeared in Sandburg's first major poetry collection, "Chicago Poems." He does not name a city in the poem, but his description matches up well to the situation on the lakefront on Friday:

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.