A partially flooded Wheeling Heritage Port is enveloped with a thick fog off the Ohio River on Wednesday morning. The cold water temperature reacting with warm air above created a thick white blanket of dense fog along the river.

WHEELING – Just the right combination of warm air temperatures and cold water created a marshmallow-like fog that appeared to slide down the Ohio River on Wednesday morning.

Motorists making their morning commutes on both sides of the river likely noticed the conditions with some of the dense white fog spilling over from the river’s backchannel onto Ohio 7 near Bridgeport.

The low-hovering cloud also nearly enveloped the entire Suspension Bridge and Fort Henry Bridge.

At one point, those taking in the view from Heritage Port could hardly see down the river at all because of the fog’s thickness. Peering across the river was also difficult with most of the tops of the houses on Wheeling Island barely showing.

Colton Milcarek, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, said the thick fog formed because of the cold river water reacting with the warm, moist air above it. He noted the deep cold snap during the Christmas weekend caused the river water to get very cold – a stark contrast to the recent warm temperatures.

photo by: Photo by Shelley Hanson

The Suspension Bridge is nearly enveloped in dense fog that formed above the Ohio River on Wednesday. The cold water temperature reacting with warm air above created a thick white blanket of dense fog along the river.

He noted the same type of shallow fog also forms during fall months, but with the water being warmer and the air colder instead.

Such fog can cause problems for drivers when it forms over roads. It can also be a problem for boats on the river, though barge drivers have navigation systems to help them through it, Milcarek said.

“Just like driving a car, it’s hard to traverse the river. … We call it river valley fog,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Wheeling region on Wednesday was still under a flood warning. Milcarek said only another third of an inch of rainfall was expected Wednesday.

“We’re keeping an eye on it. It’s trending down with what we’re looking at now,” he said.

photo by: Photo by Shelley Hanson

The ornate top of a house on Wheeling Island is seen through dense fog rising from the Ohio River on Wednesday morning. The cold water temperature reacting with warm air above created a thick white blanket of dense fog along the river.

Flash flooding occurred Tuesday on creeks and streams in Marshall County, forcing school officials there to dismiss students early from classes.

The Suspension Bridge is nearly enveloped in dense fog that formed above the Ohio River on Wednesday. The cold water temperature reacting with warm air above created a thick white blanket of dense fog along the river.


Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox