Watch Seasonal San Francisco Fog Pattern Over The Bay
The entire coastline of California experiences Fog as a typical weather pattern. The area is being covered in low-lying stratus clouds, San Francisco brings the clouds down to earth.
These visually beautiful fog formations are especially favored in the summer. Tule fog, can occur during the winter and then there are occasions when both types can occur simultaneously in the Bay Area. It’s just one of the elements that add to the allure of the city.
The fog adds to the romance of the city. Often the fog and low clouds blow in on the marine layer. Even when the clouds are not present, the coolness of the marine layer exacerbated by the strong winds can chill the City even in mid-summer creating San Francisco’s “natural air conditioning”.
Under normal summertime conditions, a daily pattern of fog and low clouds occurs.
Morning sun heats the ground which in turn heats the marine layer over the land areas.
Usually by noon, the marine layer clears back toward the coast.
By mid-afternoon, inland areas have heated sufficiently to decrease the air pressure and increase the onshore flow.
By late afternoon, the wind increases and begins to cool the onshore marine layer, allowing the fog and low clouds offshore to progress inland without evaporating. Cloudiness streams in over the Bay and through the various gaps. How far the clouds can penetrate inland depends on the depth of the marine layer and the strength of the cooling winds.
As night falls and inland areas cool down, the winds usually decrease, but the fog and clouds remain wherever they have blown in until the following morning when the cycle repeats.
Experience a Time Lapse of Magical SF Adrift
Best Fog Viewing
When the tide of fog is in, a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge is for the hearty and adventurous. Along Crissy Field, the Golden Gate Promenade, Marina Green and Fisherman’s Wharf, the wetness and wind may be a bit less chilling, best to bundle up.
For a peak experience, rise above the mist atop one of San Francisco’s Hills and look down upon the shroud of fog as it penetrates the entrance of the bay. First as wispy tendrils, then as a blanket of fleece, fog sometimes covers even the tips of the Golden Gate Bridge towers and stretches itself out into the Bay.
In the same glance take in the city skyline with the unmistakable silhouettes of Coit Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid reaching upward. Breathtaking!
SF Gate’s animated 24 hour fog forecast for The San Francisco Bay Area.