Something new I’ve been seeing in the weather alerts

Living along the ocean, I’ve seen gale warnings become a regular part of the forecast. You’ve heard of gales of course. But freezing spray?

I hadn’t given it much thought till now. Remember that magical “sea smoke” I’ve been observing? It no doubt condenses on vessels. As does moisture whipped up from the surface by those gale-force winds. Either way, here’s what the weather service says:

Freezing spray may render mechanical and electronic components inoperative. Ice accretion on decks and superstructures may result in some loss of stability. Very strong winds will cause hazardous seas which could capsize or damage vessels and reduce visibility.

During freezing spray conditions the U.S. Coast Guard advises that you ensure all lifesaving equipment remains free of ice.

Mariners should prepare for accumulation of ice on their vessel and consider altering plans to avoid or mitigate these hazardous navigating conditions.

Mariners should prepare to remain in port, alter course, and/or secure the vessel for severe conditions before conditions deteriorate.

And that’s for today’s steel-hulled ships. Imagine what it was like back in the days of sails and no warnings. As for trying to walk on decks or man the rigging?

And you thought freezing rain was bad? Seems it has a nastier brother.


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