Fall Color Report

Post date: 11/06/2018
For the final Fall Color Report,  I traveled east and down in elevation to Stone Mountain State Park, in North Carolina (https://www.ncparks.gov/stone-mountain-state-park). It was my first trip to this 14,500-acre gem of a park, and I would encourage all of you reading this not to wait 31 years to visit it as I have done! This is one of the prettiest parks in the state and the views from the top are spectacular. There are also waterfalls, but I didn’t have time to visit them (I had to get back and cook my New England clam chowder for the family – made from scratch!). But I will be coming...
Post date: 10/29/2018
  This is the peak weekend for fall colors in the High Country, some two weeks later than normal. Unfortunately, for many of you, Saturday was a bust, with rain and wind. However, today, Sunday, was quite nice, with clear blue skies up to about 3 pm, at which time the clouds moved in. Peak colors should persist for a few more days but by next weekend will be past in the High Country. Also unfortunately, peak colors does not mean great fall color. This year has been one of the least colorful fall displays ever, primarily due to the unusually warm temperatures in September and...
Post date: 10/23/2018
 Today started off dreary and drizzly, but by noon, it began to clear up. However, as the skies cleared, the winds picked up, and throughout the day, we were buffeted by strong gusts. Of course, this took some leaves off the trees, especially those that had started to turn color. That’s sort of been the story here this fall – just about everything that could go wrong for good fall color has happened this year: I said for good fall color we needed cool, sunny weather, starting in September. Instead, we had record warmth and excess rain and clouds. I said we needed to avoid rainstorms...
Post date: 10/15/2018
 Today was the Fall Foliage Ramble up on Grandfather Mountain. I gave a talk on the natural history and science of fall colors at 2 pm in the auditorium at the Nature Museum. There were also exhibits by a number of groups, including the North Carolina Native Plant Society, represented by local chapter chair Dr. Annkatrin Rose. I’d like to thank Gabe Duff and Amy Renfranz, from the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, for inviting me up to speak. It was windy, cloudy and cool in the morning, but by 2 pm the weather calmed down and there were deep blue skies, low humidity, and...
Post date: 10/09/2018
 The warm weather has persisted all week and is predicted to continue into next week. So far, this is the warmest fall on record for the mountains of North Carolina. Because of this, the fall foliage colors are very much delayed. I went hiking at Elk Knob State Park and it was still mostly green, even at the top, which is at 5,520’ elevation. I’m worried that if the warm weather carries on for another week or two it might result in a very poor fall color season. Already, some trees have dropped their leaves without changing color. Others may do the same over the next two weeks. The...
Post date: 10/02/2018
With permission, I am sharing this from Mark File's RomanticAsheville website. Look at the difference in the fall leaf color between 2014 and this year for September 28th. Quite amazing. Thanks to Mark for finding these amazing photos.I received a note from the NC Climate Office  and they say that in Sep we have had minimum temperatures averaging about 7F above normal, and max temperatures above normal, although not by that much. Washington, DC has had it's rainiest and near warmest Sep in history. All of these factors combine to delay the onset of fall leaf color. Departures...
Post date: 10/01/2018
I am back from my two-day foray to the Smokies and my trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. To get right to the point of my fall color postings I can state that everywhere and I mean everywhere, along the Parkway, the dominant color was GREEN. Usually by this time of the year, the upper elevations above 5,000' have significant color, and these high elevations often show their peak color at this time. However, this year, color development is way behind normal. Only some birches and mountain maples have started to change in a significant manner, and then only in isolated patches here and there.I'll...
Post date: 09/24/2018
After a week off due to Hurricane Florence I am back on this last day of summer with a new report on fall leaf colors. How quickly the summer came and went! Fall begins at exactly 9:40 pm on Saturday evening, as I write this. And it is amazing how the colors have come out just in the last two days, as if Mother Nature has flipped the color switch on this week, just in time for fall. Two days ago, you would have been hard pressed to find much color in the woods. But today, it is apparent all throughout the High Country. It is absolutely astounding just how quickly the trees can produce color!...
Post date: 09/10/2018
This week has been almost a near repeat of last week, with slightly above average temperatures and sporadic precipitation. The NOAA long-range forecast has a 33% chance of slightly above normal temperatures through November. Remember, for the best fall colors September should be cool and sunny. Now that we are halfway through September, and it’s still warm, I’m going to make my first comment on potential fall leaf color and say that it may not be the highest quality, but premised on the fact that it remains warm the rest of this month.Last year, we had oscillations between cool and warm...
Post date: 09/04/2018
This week has been quite warm, with above average temperatures. We’ve also had sporadic rain storms, including yesterday and today. My wife and I got rained out of our hike to Beacon Heights on Saturday, but we managed to squeeze in the Flat Rock Trail before the heavens gave way. Today we had rain from 9 am until the early evening, including a whopper thunderstorm. This year has had interesting weather – we get thunderstorms, but with very little wind; just drenching rains. Last year, I had to water plants on my front patio about every other day. This year, since May, I’ve only watered...