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Fall colors to be less than spectacular this year due to weather

Lovers of fall colors may have their hearts broken this year.
Due to warm weather and (until recently) little rain, fall foliage will be less than impressive.
“I don’t know that we will have real good colors, but it always varies,” said Kevin Starr, director of the Lincoln County Cooperative Extension. “You’re always going to have some trees that are attractive.”
The best weather for beautiful fall colors is bright, sunny days and cool nights – not exactly the weather Lincoln County has been having.
“It’s hard to remember now, but until fairly recently, we had some awfully warm weather,” Starr said.
The past dry spell has also not been ideal.
“Moisture helps drive the process that produces color changes in the leaves,” said Robert Bardon, associate professor of forestry at North Carolina State University.
“The drought just makes the leaves shut down, which speeds up the color changes, as well as the rate at which the trees will lose their leaves.”
Unfortunately, the recent onslaught of rain won’t change anything. What’s done is done.
“I’m just not sure there’s going to be a peak situation,” said Starr.
Luckily these warm days and nights and drought have not happened in the mountains, meaning fall colors on the Blue Ridge should remain spectacular.
The best time to catch these colors is from mid-October to mid-November. Leaves in higher elevations, such as Mount Mitchell, will change colors first.
by Sarah Grano

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