Friday, October 8, 2010

Too early for mountain colors

The taste of autumn that we received in the past week brought out some new wardrobes and got many of us thinking about the arrival of fall, but don't race to the mountains this weekend, expecting a bright show of colors.

The latest check indicates leaves on some trees are changing colors, but you'll have to travel to the higher altitudes to see them.

As of Thursday, colors were being seen in the trees above 5,000 feet. That's mostly in the Mount Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain and Craggy Garden areas.

Forestry officials say it will be the middle of next week, or possibly even next weekend, before the autumn color show reaches the 3,500- or 4,000-foot level.

In other words, you'll probably see some spectacular yellows and reds next weekend along the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Boone and then down around Mount Pisgah. Dr. Howard Neufeld, an Appalachian State University professor who follows the changing of the leaves each year, says some yellows and oranges are being seen among the greenery in the Boone area, but it's still a bit too early there, too.

Some horticulturists had worried that our dry and hot late August and September would cause the leaves to turn brown and fall early. That happened in a few places, but late-September rain seemed to save the day.

The peak time in the mountains -- especially at elevations of 2,500 to 4,000 feet -- likely will be around Oct. 17 to 28.

Down in the Piedmont, naturally, it'll be later.

The latest prediction is that trees in the foothills will be at full color in the last week of October -- and a few days later in the Piedmont.

Changes Ahead: If you're a fan of warm weather, you'll love the next few days, as temperatures soar well above average in the Charlotte area. Under sunny skies, we'll have afternoon readings in the mid 80s this weekend.

But don't get too used to it, as some big changes are coming.

Most of the computer models indicate a change to much cooler and wetter weather, beginning around the end of next week. There are indications the chilly conditions could continue through the rest of the month.

Our afternoon highs by the end of next weekend probably will struggle to get out of the 60s.


Anonymous said...

I still think it's going to be 95 degrees in Charlotte on Christmas Day. The heat is never going to leave...

Anonymous said...

What cool, wet weather? The forecasts from both the National Weather Service and show a slight chance of showers this Thursday, but then dry with highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s through at least the start of next week.