SEATTLE -- Record cold temperatures gripping Western Washington Monday morning brought a rare sight to those along the waterfronts: Sea smoke.
It might have looked like the water was on fire, but it's the chilly temperatures causing the phenomenon.
The waters of Puget Sound remain relatively mild during the winter -- with sea surface temperatures in the low-mid 50s.
That keeps the air just above the water relatively warm as well, but as temperatures dropped into the teens Monday morning around the region, the warmer air quickly cooled and condensed into wisps of fog.
When the winds blow, as gusts were between 20-40 mph around the shorelines, it gives an appearance of smoke blowing across the water.
The phenomenon is formally known as steam fog but also goes by arctic sea smoke (where the sight is common) or just sea smoke.