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Fall Leaf Color Update: Low Temperatures are Perfect for Bright Fall Colors; Predictions of Vibrant Color in 2-3 Weeks

Photo courtesy of “See Sugar Mountain, NC” Facebook page.

By Harley Nefe

Appalachian State University Biology professor Howard Neufeld, who is better known as the “Fall Color Guy” on Facebook and Sugar Mountain Village Tourism have provided updates to the fall peak leaf color forecasts and guides for this season.

In his fall color report for this week that he posted on Sept. 20, Neufeld said the latest low temperatures are the perfect conditions for jump-starting the fall foliage season.

He further wrote on Facebook: “Cool temperatures, especially night temperatures, sunny skies, and low humidity (actually we don’t know how humidity affects fall leaf colors!) are what we need for bright fall colors and for those colors to be timed near the long-term average dates. If things keep up like this, we’ll be back to normal timing. However, I do hear the whispers of rising temperatures in about a week, so we will need to keep an eye on that.”

Neufeld currently rated the forests as 99% green, even at high elevations like the summit of Grandfather Mountain. However, he said this period of cool, sunny weather is going to get the color changes going, so each week now we should see more and more leaves start to color up on the hillsides.

In addition to Neufeld, Sugar Mountain Village Tourism updated its website this week on Sept. 21 about its fall peak leaf color forecast.

The update reads: “Fall weather arrived early this weekend with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s! In fact, our first frost was September 20th. Cool nights and sunny days in September are the perfect ingredients for great color in October. Currently, you can already see spotty color. We should be very colorful in 2-3 weeks.”

Be sure to keep checking back with the High Country Press for updates on the fall leaf season in the mountains.

Read the High Country Press’s last update on fall leaf colors here: https://www.hcpress.com/news/fall-leaf-color-update-first-fall-colors-in-the-nc-blue-ridge-mountains.html.

First fall colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo courtesy of “See Sugar Mountain, NC” Facebook page.