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The Magic of Bay Area Fog

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 (Euan Slorach/Flickr)

To some it evokes the romance of a moody film noir, for others it’s a depressing and bone-chilling reality of life in the Bay Area. Fog has always been a signature feature of our local weather, but it seems to be having its moment in the sun. San Francisco’s fog even has its own Twitter persona, Karl the Fog. We talk all about fog with weather watchers and filmmaker Sam Green, whose new project “Fog City” premieres next week at the San Francisco Exploratorium.

Q & A With Karl the Fog

What do you say to people who find fog depressing?

If the most depressing part about living in the Bay Area is my fluffy and loving embrace for a few months in the summer (while everyone else is sweltering in the 90s & 100s), I think you've got it pretty good.

If you were going to move, where would you move?

I'm spoiled here with the dramatic hills and sweeping views and delicious neighborhoods to eat. It would have to be somewhere similar. Maybe Cape Town (South Africa) or Rio de Janeiro.

What's your favorite kind of fog? Whispy? Thick? Rolling? Sitting?

While Lil' Jon thinks everyone looks best when they "get low"… I look like a real stud when I'm sitting high enough that I cover the top of our hills and you see a definitive line where my clouds end and the pastel houses begin.

What's your favorite place to view the fog?

Lots of great places to view me, but 2 of the best are McKinley Square in Potrero Hill and the top of Corona Heights Park above the Castro. Especially when I stop at Twin Peaks and it looks like I'm doing laps by tagging Sutro Tower and heading back to sea.

What prompted you to create the Karl the Fog persona?

I know people complain a lot about me so this has been a chance to defend myself and show everyone that my intentions are not ill and my love for San Francisco is deep. Also, I've been here way longer than you. I could have gone all NIMBY when you started colonizing but I'm cool like that. You're welcome.

What are you doing when you're not tweeting as Karl? It seems like tweeting and taking photos would keep you pretty busy — do you have another job?

I work all summer and then I holiday during the fall. Other than that, I chill out in Point Reyes and spend the winter catching up on all the TV I missed. I plan to binge watch all 5 seasons of "Breaking Bad" when I get home in December.

You recently signed on to do some work with Virgin America. Is this the beginning of a media empire? What's your response to critics who say that you have "sold out"?

I'm not really doing work for VA. Just giving them sassy weather tips, exactly like I have for other companies and organizations who have reached out before. When people ask me to brag about San Francisco, it's hard for me to refuse. VA just gave me a fancy title to make it sound official. No media empire in the works. Making you "always carry a light sweater" is my full-time gig.


Jan Null, meteorologist in the Department of Earth and Climate Science at San Francisco State University and former lead forecaster for the National Weather Service

Sam Green, filmmaker whose film "Fog City" premieres Oct. 2 at the Exploratorium

Capt. Gregg Waugh, retired San Francisco bar pilot

Marina McDougall, director of the Center for Art and Inquiry at the Exploratorium


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