Fog maroons hundreds of Southeast travelers

Posted: Friday, October 25, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Juneau continued to be socked Thursday in by fog that has disrupted flights this week.

Heavy fog has forced 350 travelers to extend or delay trips throughout Southeast Alaska this week, Alaska Airlines spokesman Jack Walsh said today.

No flights left Juneau on Wednesday morning or evening, Walsh said, but seven of Alaska Airline's scheduled 12 daily flights took off in a three-hour window that opened at noon.

The airline brought in an extra plane from Anchorage to get out as many passengers as possible, Walsh said.

No flights left the airport Thursday morning, stranding about 75 travelers.

Delayed flights to Anchorage left 27 youths from the Juneau Christian Center and 15 Juneau-Douglas High School Student Council members waiting at the Juneau Airport, playing cards, listening to music and reading magazines.

Flights into and out of Sitka and Ketchikan have been affected less by the fog than those to Juneau, Wrangell and Petersburg, Walsh said. It was possible to fly into and out of Sitka and Ketchikan, just not to Juneau.

The heavy fog is a result of the large amount of rain in Juneau last week, said Bob Mosley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. A break-up in cloud cover cooled air temperatures and a lack of wind made conditions ripe for fog, which forms when moisture-laden air cools and condenses into ground-level clouds.

''On cloudy days the heat is trapped and it doesn't cool down that much,'' Mosley told the Juneau Empire. ''But when you have a loss of heat from the earth when the clouds leave, it exacerbates the chance of fog forming.''

The fog lifted by mid afternoon but was expected to return sometime Thursday night, the weather service said.

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