By Paul T. Choate
Oct. 10, 2012. Fall is a favorite time of year for many High Country residents and visitors because of the vibrant colors of the changing leaves as the air starts to get cooler. A local professor is one of the leading experts in providing tips for the “leaf lookers” and says this is the peak week.
According to Dr. Howard Neufeld, professor of plant physiology at Appalachian State University and fall color expert for the North Carolina Division of Tourism, “… the colors in the Highlands/Cashiers and Boone areas are going to peak by mid-week, and those colors will persist through the weekend. So, if you’re thinking of heading up to the mountains to see the fall foliage, this … week and weekend look to be a good bet.”
Dr. Neufeld has a Ph.D. in physiological plant ecology from the University of Georgia, a master’s in forest ecology from Yale University and a bachelor’s in forestry from Rutgers University. Through his expertise on the subject he has become known as the “Fall Color Guy” and since 2007 has written on the subject for VisitNC.com, the North Carolina Division of Tourism’s website.
In mid-September, Dr. Neufeld told High Country Press that this season, the weather looked to be cooperating to provide a good fall season, and so far he appears to have been right.
According to his most recent Fall Color Report published on Oct. 7, “Around Blowing Rock at Bass and Price Lakes, colors are also very vibrant now, and perhaps among the best along the Blue Ridge Parkway.”
According to Ray’s Weather Center, the forecast for Blowing Rock this weekend looks to be perfect for getting out and enjoying the leaves. Ray is forecasting high temperatures in the 60s and only a slight chance of a passing shower on Friday. Saturday is described as “Scattered clouds; Nice” on his website.
To view the full Oct. 7 Fall Color Report, or any of Dr. Neufeld’s other reports, visit biology.appstate.edu/fall-colors.