Colorful fall predicted for Western North Carolina

This year’s autumn display is likely to be a colorful one, according to Western Carolina University fall foliage forecaster Beverly Collins.

“The warm, wet spring and most of the summer has been ideal for photosynthesis,” said Collins, a professor in WCU’s biology department. “Under those conditions, plants make abundant chlorophyll and associated leaf pigments, such as yellows, oranges and reds, to produce sugars.”

If typical fall weather featuring bright, sunny days and cool nights continues through September with a cold snap in early October, bright fall colors are likely. Peak color around Western North Carolina could arrive in the second and third week of October, depending on elevation.

Several variables are still at play in determining foliage vibrancy. If the active hurricane season delivers a windstorm that knocks leaves off trees and thins the canopy, color could be patchy. In addition, continued warm temperatures can slow down color change.

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