The decorations this year are based off of an old photograph from Christmas of 1963 that hangs inside the Visitors Center. Biloxi's Historical Association held the official lighting this evening. The lighthouse, which serves as a landmark for the Coast, is officially ready for Christmas now that it has been lit. If one were looking for that light in the lighthouse earlier today, one would have had trouble spotting it from very far away, thanks to the thick fog on the Coast. Freezing temperatures, combined with snow and ice make for dangerous road conditions in December, but the past few days on the Coast have seen a different deadly condition. Dr. David Holt, a geography professor, says, "Fog is actually considered one of the major hazards. It's a natural hazard and it’s actually one of the deadliest natural disasters. A lot of people don't look at it because it doesn't seem that attractive of a story."
This deadly weather event has an impact on all types of travel, and is common this time of year because of the warm water and cool air. George Manemanm, the Harbor Master, says, "You know, end of November through the middle of December is when we see these weather conditions. Then it gets a little warmer or a little colder and this type of fog can be thick and lie around for a while or blow out in the blink of an eye." Even though the Coast is seeing temperatures in the 70s, there isn’t much activity at the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor thanks to the thick fog. Manemanm also says, "What ends up happening is our boaters tend to stay in harbor. You know, they have radar and electronics and things that get them places, but it’s better safe than sorry is what it boils down to." Dr. Holt explains that the system that will drop snow and rain in the middle of the country could thicken the fog we see here. Dr. Holt also says, "The fog that we’re seeing here is coming from the Gulf, but this thing that is pushing snow around could bring in some added moisture and actually add to the fog effect as well." The fog has been having a major impact on visibility all day, with seven flights canceled thanks to the poor visibility.