Does August fog lead to winter snow? We’re busting the myth

(Copyright 2022 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

Happy Monday and welcome to another edition of the Beyond The Forecast weather newsletter!

Meteorologists hear a wide variety of weather folklore from the viewers that they forecast for every day, like “red sky at morning, sailors take warning” or “clear moon, frost soon.”

One such saying is relevant to our current weather set-up: “For every fog in August comes a day of snow in the winter.” My colleague Chris Michaels says he heard this for the first time living in Bristol, Tennessee.

I have personally never heard this saying, but I was curious if anyone here in Southwest and Central Virginia has! You can participate in our poll here.

(Copyright 2022 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

As of this afternoon, 56% of responders said they had heard of this saying, while 44% had not. Meanwhile, only 33% of voters said they believed that August fogs corresponded to winter snows.

Well the saying is a myth (at least in our area) and the 67% who don’t believe are right. We’ve crunched the numbers to prove it.

(Copyright 2022 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

In Roanoke, we average around seven foggy mornings each August, but more than eight snow days in the winter. If you narrow down the snows to 1″ or more, that number drops to four snow days per winter.

Similar discrepancies in the numbers are found across Lynchburg, Southside, the New River Valley and the Highlands, which you can see below. It’s especially jarring if you examine the Southside and NRV data!

(Copyright 2022 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

I can’t tell you how someone came up with this saying, but I can tell you that the data does not support it. Let us know what other weather myths you would like us to bust!

Switching gears to your forecast; we’re stuck in a hot and sometimes stormy pattern at the moment, but Chris says changes are coming! He has a look at when cooler, more refreshing air could arrive in our daily forecast article.

You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Southside, the Highlands or elsewhere around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather. Know your zone!

In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather and science content on WSLS.com. Here are a few links from the past week to check out:

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You can also keep up with me on social media. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, follow along!

-- Justin McKee


About the Author:

Justin McKee presents the weather forecast on 10 News Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6 to 8 a.m. He also fills in for other meteorologists during the week.