RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) --The official start of fall is just a few weeks away (September 22), but that's not stopping folks from planning their annual trips to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This year's show, however, may not be as bright as last, according to Dr. Howard Neufeld, professor of plant ecology at Appalachian State University.
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"The colors could be a little dulled, they could be a little delayed," he said. "It may also change the length of time that the trees hold onto their leaves. If it gets too dry, the trees will drop them early. If we get a lot of rain they may hold on to them a little longer."
His forecast is in response to the Climate Prediction Center's month long forecast which shows North Carolina in the "above average" temperature category.
"Cool days in September and sunny days provide the most vibrant color," Neufeld explained.
Five out of six days in September have been above average already in Asheville thus far according to the National Weather Service, so the Climate Prediction Center's forecast may verify.
"If it's warm and also we get clouds and some rain, that tends to dull the red colors and so then the quality of the fall color display might be a little reduced," Neufeld said.
Color is still expected to peak in mid-October. Neufeld suggests visiting the Boone area around October 14-16 for peak color.
If you're unavailable that weekend? No worries. He says you can still see some color in late October. "If you're unable to travel that weekend, just go to the overlooks and look down the mountain. You'll see some good color there," he said.
To view Dr. Neufeld's weekly fall color reports, follow him on facebook. Here is a link to his page.