Conditions created by the Christmas week bomb cyclone caused Arctic sea smoke from Lake Michigan to waft in over Chicago amid bitter cold and snow.
FOX Weather correspondent Robert Ray was in Chicago on Friday, where sea smoke was rising, creating an eerie landscape in Chicagoland.
Lake Michigan water temperatures were hovering around 40 degrees while the air temperature was 5 below zero. As the relatively warm water evaporates, it quickly condenses in the frigid air into a thin layer of steam.
“All of those winds kicking up, it’s (looks) like a giant hot tub,” Ray said.
Sea smoke gets its “Arctic” moniker because it is most commonly seen in the Arctic.
However, when it gets cold enough, sea smoke can also be found in the Lower 48. And sometimes it’s called “steam fog.”
If the water temperature drops below 32 degrees, parts of Lake Michigan could freeze over in the days ahead. Ice chunks were already forming at the lake shore on Friday.
“This is an extraordinary scene here, and it’s so, so cold,” Ray said, adding wind chills ranged between 35 and 40 degrees below zero.
A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for northern and central Illinois and northwest Indiana through Saturday morning.
Meteorologists with the NWS in Chicago warned residents if they have to leave home to wear multiple layers and cover as much skin as possible.
Ray said most Chicagoans appeared to heed the advice as most roads were empty, minus delivery trucks on Friday.