Fog slows down Kelowna airport operations

The fog surrounding Dilworth Mountain is too thick to see the city below. - Jennifer Smith
The fog surrounding Dilworth Mountain is too thick to see the city below.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith

A thick blanket of fog fell over Kelowna Thursday, wreaking havoc for travellers trying to fly in and out of the valley.

"Its been a bit of a frustration for those trying to get somewhere…(It's) Mother Nature. We have no control," said Jenelle Hynes, Kelowna International Airport, marketing and media relations.

Arriving flights require a 251 foot ceiling and one mile visibility, while departing flights need a minimum of a half-mile, according to Hynes, and visibility dropped to a quarter mile or less at times throughout the day.

Roughly half a dozen inbound flights and a similar number of outbound flights had been cancelled, and the Vancouver airport was not faring much better. By mid-afternoon, an Alaskan airlines flight was circling YLW looking for a break in the thick white blanket, possibly to be rerouted.

"We're going to be plagued by low-lying cloud for at least a week," said Doug Lundquist, Environment Canada weather specialist.

Without the solar power to burn through the layer, Lundquist said the fog would have to slowly dissipate and become low-lying cloud before lifting.

It did leave the area with an unusual layer of hoar frost on trees and branches, crystallizing much of the foliage one might come across on local walking trails.

With files from Jennifer Smith and Kathy Michaels

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