Weather normally associated with sunshine and blue skies is responsible for thick fog that has blanketed the coast, causing havoc with air and ferry traffic around coastal B.C. A high-pressure system centred over the province is blamed for holding cloud banks close to low areas, creating a fog so heavy it prevented some planes from landing at Nanaimo Airport, despite new instrumentation.
On most ferry runs, the fog is more of a nuisance than a hindrance, since radar can penetrate the fog, allowing vessels to operate though sometimes at a reduced speed.
At Nanaimo Airport, it blemished YCD's near-perfect record since an instrument landing system, new lighting and other enhancements were installed to drastically improve reliability significantly in recent years.
"We've had some challenges with the fog across coastal B.C. in the last week and a half," said Mike Hooper, airport CEO.
All Vancouver Island airports have been affected, and the mainland as far east as Abbotsford. Since Oct. 4 fog prevented 22 planes from landing at YCD. During that period, 339 flights arrived.
With ILS installed, pilots can safely land at YCD unless the ground cannot be seen within one mile of the end of the runway, at an altitude of 338 feet. Fog hasn't prevented planes from taking off, but "the last few days it's been every day" at least one plane couldn't land, Hooper said.
The fog is caused by conditions that in summer would be associated with beautiful weather. "We've got a big high-pressure system sitting on top of us and the air is stagnant," said David Jones, Environment Canada regional meteorologist.
It caused delays for commuters and other ferry passengers crossing the Strait of Georgia Monday.
The Queen of Oak Bay on the Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay route and the Spirit of British Columbia on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route were both "about 10 minutes behind schedule due to the fog," said B.C. Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall by email.
"Other than that, the only cancellations we are having due to fog are on the Campbell River-Quadra Island route," and the Powell River Queen, which is having problems with its radar system "and we can't sail in fog without radars," Marshall said.
A solution was expected Monday afternoon. The forecast is for more the fog to continue, for the next few days at least.
The good news? "It's not going to rain for a while," Jones said.
© Copyright 2013