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Best timing for least amount of NS fog?

toronto
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Best timing for least amount of NS fog?

Hi - we've vacationed in Nova Scotia 5 times in the past 19 years and have been rather fortunate, according to some, to have found fog generally not a huge problem. I've been told it often obsures the views in Cape Breton, for instance, but I only remember occasional early morning (burns off quickly) or late evening fogs. We've had the odd fog day on the Lighthouse Route, but generally these have been few.

Yet I keep reading about fog.

Most of our visits have been in late August and I've wondered if this timing is a factor? This is important as we're planning a trip for next year in late June/early July. I'm speculating now that possibly fog is more frequent when the temperature differential between water, land and air are highest and perhaps that's why our late summer visits - less temperature difference - have been relatively fog free?

Can anyone comment? Should we reconsider an early summer visit?

Dartmouth, Canada
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1. Re: Best timing for least amount of NS fog?

Fog is a fact of life on the coast. Matter of fact, as I sit here writing this, it is a foggy morning in Dartmouth, Which is much better than the 40 mm of rain due this evening.

It tends to slow down the traffic which is a good thing and if your sitting on the deck having a coffee on the shore you find the chugging of fishing boats and the call of the loons that much more enjoyable.

Being a transplant from Upper Canada, many years ago, I much prefer this to the humidity and noise you experience.

Lunenburg, Canada
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for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu National Park
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2. Re: Best timing for least amount of NS fog?

Hi Toronto!

If you come in late-June/early-July, you may have occasion to find why the people talk about fog.

Here are some facts about Atlantic coastal fog as we get it in Nova Scotia:

- the worst month for fog is usually June. In chillier-than-normal years, it may persist into July and even the first week of August. Usually, the fog season is past by mid-August at the latest, and foggy days are then limited to periods when it's rainy anyway.

- the worst-plagued areas for fog are mostly along the Atlantic-facing coast of Nova Scotia, including southern Cape Breton Island. Places well inland or facing the south shore of the Bay of Fundy, Northumberland Strait and the Gulf of St. Lawrence see much less fog, What fog those places do see settles in later and burns off earlier in the morning.

- Foggy spells typically last around two weeks, although this is by no means a firm rule. They happen when the upper atmosphere winds, that normally keep our weather systems moving, fade out in the spring with the northward advance of the season. With no steering currents to move the weather along, it stalls over Nova Scotia, leaving us with long spells of south or southwest wind. When the spell finally breaks, it's often followed by the start of another a couple of days later.

People from "away" usually regard the south wind as bringing warmth, but this isn't what happens in a Nova Scotia spring. The south wind blows over the waters of the Labrador Current off Nova Scotia. Southerly winds are already chocked full of moisture from their long passage over the western Atlantic. When they ride over cold water, the moisture condenses into fog and drizzle.

- A typical foggy day starts with thick fog, enough that it would be dangerous for cars to pass on a two-lane undivided highway. Drizzle and an occasional shower falls from the clouds. Outdoor activity is drenching, and the fog feels cold to the skin. In a word, it's miserable.

As morning progresses, the fog begins to lift. Visibility is restored in low-lying areas. As the lifting progresses, the clouds suddenly break and, in a few minutes, completely clear skies are revealed, although it may be a bit hazy.

The afternoons are sunny, with a chill wind off the water. Look out to sea, though, and you'll notice the disconcerting fact that there is no horizon. The water just disappears into whiteness. The fog is still out there, over the ocean.

Around 6 p.m. along the shore, a bit later inland, the fog starts to roll in, starting as billows of ugly dark cloud blown in on the wind. Before you know it, you're socked in, followed by the arrival of drizzle and chill air.

People born in Nova Scotia, like me, look upon fog differently from transplants. I'd much rather a hot, humid day, even if I have to seek relief in air conditioning. At least in hot weather you can go outdoors in the evening and the cool of the morning, and you can enjoy daytime activities like going to the beach.

In fog, though, going outdoors means getting wet. It feels chilling to be out there for any length of time, even wearing clumsy rain gear. Even the short, sunny afternoons are too brisk to enjoy things like a swim in the 15°C ocean.

Have you heard of "winter blues," as February wears on and there is not yet any sign of spring? We in Nova Scotia have something even worse! It's losing weeks and weeks of our already short summer to fog, damp and chill. Mid-August comes, the first chilly days of autumn are barely a week away, and there's not yet been any summer!

David

capetien10@gmail.com

toronto
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3. Re: Best timing for least amount of NS fog?

David, wow, thanks ever so much! I really appreciate the knowledge and details. You seem to be confirming what I had suspected - that the reason we haven't experienced the kind of extensive or long lasting fogs that I keep reading can significantly impede scenic touring is because almost all of our visits have been late summer. Maybe we should continue that trend.

Lunenburg, Canada
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for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu National Park
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4. Re: Best timing for least amount of NS fog?

The latter half of August plus September are our best tourist season.

5. Re: Best timing for least amount of NS fog?

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