Tom Skilling recalls Fog Bowl weather

Tom Skilling recalls Fog Bowl weather

December 26, 2013, 11:45 pm
Share This Post
Mark Strotman

If you happened to be outside in Chicago on Dec. 31, 1988, chances are you didn't see any fog. If you were at Soldier Field, however, you saw nothing but fog.

WGN cheif meteorologist explained to CSN Chicago that the weather seen at Soldier Field that fateful day at the Fog Bowl was a complete abberation of the weather elsewhere in the city that day.

"If Soldier Field had been where the United Center is, there wouldn't have been a problem with that game. If Soldier Field had been in the West Loop, there wouldn't have been a problem with the game," Skilling said. But sitting as it does...within a couple blocks of the lake water, the fog came in and it was like zero-zero: zero visibility, zero ceiling. It was incredible."

Skilling explained how fog forms, noting that when the air temperature reaches the dew point, moisture in the air becomes visible. Skilling noted that a large snowstorm had created moisture in the air that eventually warmed over the next few days. But when cold winds from Lake Michigan blew in to Soldier Field, it created an incredible amount of fog that couldn't have been predicted.

"You couldn't forecast something on that scale. You would have known, in principle, that patchy fog could occur, but to place it right over Soldier Field, I don't recall forecasting it," Skilling said. "One couldn't have imagined in our wildest dreams that you'd have a pea-soup type fog causing the type of havoc it caused at that game."

Skilling seemed amazed at how there was visibility everywhere in the city...except for the one place where the biggest event that day was going on.

"You could honestly say that that game was played at absolutely the worst place that you could possibly played at that moment in time," he said. "There was no place else in the city that was as fogged at that time than along the lakefront and Soldier Field."