Thick fog disrupts life at Osan, Humphreys
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — A dense fog that rolled into the Pyeongtaek region overnight forced school closings and delays Wednesday as well as temporary changes in flight operations at both Osan Air Base and Camp Humphreys.
Most vehicle traffic was banned at Osan Air Base until about midday, when some restrictions were eased after the sun had burned off much of the fog.
“It was thick; it reminded me of the fog in Germany — that heavy, wet, dense fog that they get in the farming areas in Germany,” said Bob McElroy, chief spokesman for the Army’s Area III Support Activity at Camp Humphreys.
The fog resulted when Tuesday’s warm temperatures and haze mixed overnight, said Air Force 2nd Lt. Kimberly Schaerdel, a spokeswoman for Osan’s 51st Fighter Wing. Adding to that was a sea fog that moved into the area, she said.
A Korean Meteorological Agency spokeswoman said the fog mainly hit areas along the peninsula’s west coast. A lack of wind, she said, contributed to the problem.
Officials ordered Osan American high school and elementary school closed for the day, Schaerdel said.
And officials scheduled Humphreys American Elementary School at Camp Humphreys to start the day at 9 a.m., two hours later than usual, McElroy said.
At Osan Air Base, the fog brought a “temporary impact on the normal flying schedule” because of reduced visibility, but by afternoon Osan’s 51st Fighter Wing had resumed normal operations, Schaerdel said.
At Camp Humphreys’ Desiderio Army Airfield, officials restricted helicopter and fixed-wing flights to aircraft able to navigate by instruments, McElroy said.
At Osan, “red” road conditions meant buses, taxis, privately owned vehicles and bicycles were not allowed on the roads; only mission-essential vehicles and the shuttle bus to Incheon airport were allowed to travel, Schaerdel said.
Osan reduced the speed limit to 15 mph.
People who called Osan’s on-base taxi service to request a pickup were told that there was no service during the red condition.
But road conditions at Osan were changed to “amber” around 11:30 a.m., clearing the way for taxis and privately owned vehicles to make work-related trips, Schaerdel said. They returned to green around 1:30 p.m.
At Humphreys, even during the red condition, normal vehicle traffic was allowed but the speed limit was set at 15 mph, McElroy said.
“The advice to commuters was to drive slower and be more aware of the road conditions and what was around them,” he said.
The post’s safety staff was out in vehicles with flashing red lights, setting out orange safety cones and monitoring traffic “ensuring that people were driving slowly,” McElroy said.
Conditions at Humphreys were changed to amber around 1 p.m. and to green at 1:40 p.m., he said.