They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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Negative Visibility

The Gray Quiet

Last night the fog rolled in, not on little cat feet, but huge furry man-rending tiger paws. Because of the first full day of March Madness, the local CBS news was on after midnight. They were already reporting that Grand Rapids had zero visibility and the fog was expected to linger until 11am. By 3am, using the light by the garage, I didn't have even 30 feet of visibility. So I went to bed figuring that (a) the schools would be delayed or closed as they often are in spring and fall due to fog and (b) if it really was zero visibility, I might have to declare a fog day of my own.

At 6:55am, though, I noted that I could see a headlight moving on Warner, 250 feet down the driveway, albeit slowly. Amazingly the traffic reports indicated that people were behaving themselves and there were no accidents to report early on. The MDOT traffic cameras on US-131 showed strong haziness, but you could see the cars and traffic was moving at a reasonable pace.

So I left half an hour earlier than usual for a Friday and figured I'd see what was what. There was a very bad crash a couple miles west of us, at 120th Avenue and Lincoln, and the trooper reported the conditions as "pea soup". But our road wasn't bad, no problem running at 40-50mph. M-45 45-55mph. Pretty much full speed the rest of the way. Sun broke through just past Plainwell/Allegan. Fog stopped in K-zoo, pretty morning when I got to campus.

The traffic lights in the murk were prettier on 68th Avenue at this intersection, but there's a Right Turn on Red, so I didn't stop to take that picture. (grin) (Click on photo for larger.)

By The Way

A couple of weeks ago I started seeing a truck equipped with a Trailer Tail. From a distance it looked like it had a pouch or a hump on the back, but as I got closer I realized it was hollow and just a fairing to cut down on the turbulence behind the flat rear of the semi-trailer. Like the fairings covering the exposed undercarriage of the trailers or those over the cab to cover the flat upper face of the fronts of trailers, I'm assuming that trucking companies wouldn't pay money for these unless they provided some savings. In the case of the Trailer Tail, it'd be one more thing to have to undo before opening up the doors.

So far I've only seen this three times -- and twice I'm pretty sure it was the same truck.

Trend or trendy? (Click on photo for larger.)

Dr. Phil
Tags: driving, fog, spring, trucks, weather, west michigan

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