SEPTEMBER 9, 2010 ISSUE

August Fogs Could Mean Lots of Snow

The abstract, mixed-media paintings of Gerardo Paz will be on display at BeansTalk Coffeehouse in Boone

If the adage is true, the High Country is in for another snowy winter.

There’s an old wives' tale that says the number of fogs on August mornings are the same as the number of snows in the winter. According to some reports, there were anywhere between 14 and 31 foggy mornings in August.

“The early indication is that it will be a snowy winter,” said SkiSoutheast.com’s Mike Dople. He looked out each morning during August and saw fog. Sometimes it was light, but other times it was a moderate to heavy fog.

Dople has been covering the ski slopes in the area for 15 years and has kept up with the number of August fogs. He said this was the first year that each day has been foggy.

That much snow would make for another great ski season, he said.

Some people put a bean in a jar or circle the date on their calendars when there is a morning fog in August to keep up with the count. After each snow, a bean is removed.

Dople said he’s heard from many people over the years that there are two or three beans left in the jar after the winter.

While Dople’s data is pulled from his workplace between Boone and Banner Elk, the numbers from Grandfather Mountain are a bit different. Its report states there were 14 foggy mornings this August. Last year, there were 17 foggy mornings there.

Still, not everyone believes the folklore.

Ray Russell, of RaysWeather.com, agrees that it was foggy almost every morning during August, but he isn’t sure that means anything. He plans to release his winter weather forecast in late September on his site.

“This will be the year that old fog-snow forecast myth will be exposed as true ‘myth,’” he said. “The coming winter forecast based on real science is expected to be milder and less snowy than normal.”

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the South will be “very cold with average wintry precipitations.”

August fogs are one of many old ways to guess the amount of snow coming in the winter. The Farmers’ Almanac gives these other ways to determine the severity of the winter: the thickness of onion skins, lots of acorns, a small orange band on a wooly worm, pigs gathering sticks and trees laden with leaves late in the fall.