On December 5, 1952 fog slowly descended on the city of London. Over the course of the day, the fog thickened and acquired a yellowish hue and a scent like rotten eggs.
At the time, an unusual cold snap had chimneys and smokestacks working overtime, and a high-pressure system parked itself over the area, containing the noxious fumes, reports Ben Guarino reports for The Washington Post.
The smelly cloud grew to be 30-miles wide and was so thick that buses couldn’t run, planes were grounded and even boat traffic came to a halt. Over the next five days, the fog coated sidewalks with black ooze and left smudges on the faces of anyone who dared to walk through it.
But even worse, the Great Smoke, as the incident came to be known, was deadly.
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