Is "freezing fog", a relatively new weather term?

I am in my mid 40’s, and this winter season is the first time I have heard meterologists (weather people) on the news refer to “freezing fog”. Is it a relatively new term that weathermen have started using, or have you heard it used for years?

I’ve been hearing it all my life (~40 years), here in the UK

The phrase “beware the pogonip” appears in the December calendar of every Old Farmer’s Almanac, for at least a century or so. A pogonip is an ice fog.


How about you US residents that don’t read the Farmer’s Almanac?

It’s called “ice fog” in Alaska, and I’ve heard the term there since the 60s. Perhaps that’s a different thing, though. It happens during very cold temperatures when there is an inversion.

I don’t know if it is a regional term, or technical term that is moving mainstream, but Google Books finds plenty of old references (results for 1600-1950) for the phrase, going back to 1800 in a book by Erasmus Darwin.

As a Buffalonian, no, I’ve never heard this, and I thought I’d heard every term for weird winter weather.

We were talking about this the other night. It’s been a very popular term in the recent storms, but I don’t remember having heard it before.

Central Oklahoma location - I’m wondering if it’s just a precip type we haven’t typically seen in the past?


Could this be an example of a transatlantic transfer that has gone west for the first time in a long while?


It’s not a new term. 40+ years

OK, so the OP has been answered, and I’m sitting here in LA still wondering what the hell “freezing fog” IS! Someone explain! :slight_smile:

How does one pronounce this? Like “pogo stick” or like “poggan-ipp”?

Me, too. Chicago reporting, and I’ve never heard “freezing fog.” It’s possible I’m just not paying attention.


The fog freezes to stuff like your car. You can have a really thick build up.

Here are some photos I posted on Thing-a-Day.

The type of coating it produces is called “hoar frost,” which you almost never hear anymore. I imagine “hoar frost” has gone the way of “niggardly” and “titular” – words you don’t say because they sound dirty.

Freezing fog is not the same thing as ice fog or pogonip. Pogonip (the New England term) or ice fog (the Alaska term) is composed of small crystals of ice suspended in air. Freezing fog is like ordinary fog, made up of tiny droplets of liquid water suspended in the air. What makes it “freezing” is that when it contacts a surface (like a roadway) that is below the freezing point, it freezes, forming a thin layer of slippery ice. If it’s heavy enough, freezing fog is similar to freezing rain in its effects on traffic safety, but it doesn’t coat surfaces heavily enough to bring down power lines and tree limbs.

Detroit area. Never heard the term before, and didn’t know what it meant before now.

Thank you. While I am hardly a meteorological expert, I have heard many of these terms before. Thanks for pointing out the differences.

The thing is, though, the first time I heard the term on a message board I looked it up, and the article I read about it specifically mentioned that it’s common in Wisconsin and the neighboring states. I’ve still never heard anyone mention it around here, but I don’t think it happens here, either. Never heard of a “Pogonip” either, even though it’s supposed to be a New England term.