Local Weather Forecast for Planning Your Vacation to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains!

Mountain Sense

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Courtesy of Local Yokel Jerry Ison

Why Are They Smoky?

Why Are the Smoky Mountains Smoky and Why is the Smoke Blue?

Awe inspiring!

When the Cherokee arrived in the area about 1,000 years ago, they called it Shaconagay, literally "Land of the Blue Smoke."

The name Smoky Mountains may be a result of a translation of the Cherokee or more probably, the early white settlers also thought it looked as if the mountains were shrouded in blue smoke.

The "smoke" is actually a mist created by the respiration of the trees which grow so densely in the moist habitat provide by the mountains. Trees transpire, that is they "breathe" and their "breath" is moisture laden. Some single oaks may  produce 220 kilo liters of water vapor a day. Another contributor is moisture coming up from the Gulf of Mexico. When this warm, moist, heavy air strikes the mountains, it condenses and contributes to the water supplies on the mountains. This blanket of moisture provides fantastic growing conditions which have helped the area's species thrive.

But, you may ask, why is the mist blue? The answer to this may surprise you - it's the result of hydrocarbons in the mist. Most people will automatically assume that when one speaks of hydrocarbons, they are talking about emissions from burning petroleum fuels.

So, you may wonder, when did the mist turn blue? Is it a recent phenomenon?  Of course not. The mountain mist has always been blue or at least so long as humans were around to observe them. That means there must have been hydrocarbon emissions way back more than 1,000 years ago when the Cherokee first observed the Smoky Mountains. Where, then, did the hydrocarbons come from?  Believe it or not, it is emitted by trees!  Evergreens emit a variety of natural hydrocarbons which are a result of the trees metabolism.  These compounds, when suspended in the mist, bend the shorter light rays, those towards the red end of the spectrum, more than the blue rays, so the result is a bluish tint to the vapor.

Now you know way more than you need to know about why we call 'em the Smokies!  All you really need to know is that they have been around for millions of years, will be for millions more and right now, you are lucky enough to be enjoying their timeless beauty.

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Gatlinburg Tennessee Weather
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Monthly Average
Temperatures and Precipitation [Inches]

Month

High

Low

2013

January

48

25

4.57

February

53

28

4.49

March

61

33

4.72

April

70

41

4.21

May

77

50

5.87

June

83

58

5.51

July

86

58

5.83

August

85

57

4.57

September

80

50

4.33

October

71

38

2.68

November

61

30

4.13

December

51

24

4.33

Jerry Ison is a mountain-born, somewhat odd fellow who lives back in a holler up in the foothills of the Smokies. Ever so often, he comes down into civilization and brings us a story he has scratched out on a yellow pad with a pencil he sharpens with his 80-year old Barlow.  He says he has spell-checker, but can only use it when he visits the local feed store where she works.  Occasionally, you may find he uses words or phrases that seem "unusual." To help you with some of those, we have included a mountain speech dictionary here.

Additional Articles
"Wildflowers Don't Care Where They Grow"
Why do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?
Smoky Mountains Weather Lore
Southern Slang Dictionary

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Sevier County, East Tennessee

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Gatlinburg TN weather, Pigeon Forge weather & local weather forecast for the Great Smoky Mountains area of East Tennessee.  When planning your Gatlinburg vacation or Pigeon Forge getaway, be sure to include alternate Gatlinburg attractions and Pigeon Forge fun into your vacation schedule just in case Mother Nature and local weather conditions have something else in mind.  Gatlinburgtnweather.com offers resources for outdoor recreation, indoor rainy day activity, and even all weather fun rain or shine!  No matter what the season or temperature, cloudy or clear skies, there are plenty of things to do in the Smoky Mountains National Park area including many free local festivals and seasonal 2014 and 2015 events.
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