What the Heck Does Fog Have to Do With Winter?

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This time of year we kind of start “jump-starting” our season of content with “Fogs in August”. We throw in some additional folklore, farmers and wives tales related to the subject of winter, and we mix in some Woolly Worm and other Autumn festivals reporting and then move into the fun of winter.

I will have a LOT to share about what we can all expect about winter in terms of how the ski resorts will deal with the current pandemic, etc. and I promise that I will begin sharing that AND whatever the “newest information” is pertaining to that situation very soon.

For today, however, I want to address a bunch of emails that I am receiving in reference to fogs and what the heck that has to do with snowfall in the winter.

Around this time each year, I get a bunch of emails thanking us for posting our annual reporting of the fogs…AND I also get a few (I think legitimate) questions and some comments about how stupid the idea is AND that it has no basis on science. Those that want to shoot holes in the old-timer’s logic claim that those old farmers (and wives) really knew how to pull a fast one on us.

So just WHAT IS this all about? Is there any truth to the fact that fogs, and acorns and squirrel…and others within nature can actually help us forecast the season ahead? While I will clearly admit that I’ve reported on this annual passage from summer to autumn to winter for 25+ years now – I have done so merely for entertainment purposes.

However, I will also quickly add that as entertaining as it may or may not be, I think there are signs all around us that are MEANT to guide us in life. Old farmers were making decisions about when to plant and harvest LONG before there were any meteorologists, and scientific instruments that came along ‘to confuse things’.

Usually as we lead off August 1st with the first “Fogs in August” reports, we typically share a little intel about why our readers should care. As we enter season 26, we have to believe that the vast majority of our readers are well-versed into what fogs or woolly worms have to do with winter forecasting. However, for the few who don’t know, here’s the inside scoop.

Every season, as the summer sun fades and autumn approaches, it is inevitable to wonder what kind of winter this coming year will bring? Multiply that by TEN, since about 99.9% of our readers are also skiers, snowboarders and snow enthusiasts.

Official winter outlooks are usually formulated and released in October, but for those of us who are skiers and snowboarders that is simply too long to wait. What do we do? We head outside and put the power of forecasting into nature…with the aid of old wives tales and farmer folklore.

Those very same farmers (and their wives) suggest that it is possible to predict the coming winter as early as August by observing certain plants, animals and insects’ behavior.

Here are just a few:

For every day of fog in August, there will be a snowfall/storm. 

This is why you can see all of the LIKES posted on our Instagram and Facebook feed. People are tuning in each day for those updated photos posted every morning showing fog – or a lack of it. (We are up to 5.5 of 9 so far. Don’t ask how I came up with one-half a foggy day.)

If the first week of August is unusually warm, the coming winter will be snowy and long. 

Views from Beech Mountain yesterday

I LOVE this one, because it has been hotter than the hinges of hell this last week or so on and off the mountain. (Great for lake activities.)

If a cold August follows a hot July, it foretells a winter hard and dry. (Yep, the rhyme is part of the deal!)

I can tell you that it has NOT been cold and July was not all that crazy hot, so I think we are hitting on all cylinders so far.

Have You Got An Old Oak Tree in Your Yard?

Pay attention to the ground, deck or porch. Are they covered in acorns? If so, folklore predicts that these same surfaces may be blanketed by snows this winter. The header photo posted to this story was from this afternoon as I gathered up (in seconds) a ton of acorns. I picked out some of the prettier ones and snapped the photo. Just know, that my yard, decks and porches are ALREADY in need of raking up acorns. My family wouldn’t allow it – as I was scolded and told that squirrels need to have the honor of gathering up acorns to prepare for what is certain to be a nice winter.

Its connoisseur, the squirrel is also linked to winter. If squirrels are significantly more active and gather acorns…THAT is considered an indication that a severe winter is on its way.

So if you’ve been reading our posts about fogs and wondered what this was all about – well NOW you know.

In closing, man I DO have a lot to say and share about the cancellation of the Woolly Worm Festival – and our own plans to make something happen in its absence AND we do have a lot to share about how resorts PLAN to deal with things this winter. Regardless of what I share in that story – that I will post later in the week – not all of those decisions are actually in the hands of resort operators….but in the hands of the five Governors who run each state. We have SOME intel there as well and will share it. Stay tuned.

Feel free to email me at [email protected]


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