Drought could mean early colors in NC, SC - FOX Carolina 21

Drought could mean early colors in NC, SC

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Leaves begin to change on the first day of fall. (File/FOX Carolina) Leaves begin to change on the first day of fall. (File/FOX Carolina)
CLEMSON, SC (AP) -

It's been a dry summer in the Carolinas, and that weather could lead to brighter - and earlier - fall colors.

Clemson University professor Victor Shelburne says the most vibrant colors come when a dry summer is followed by crisp autumn nights.

But too much cold too early can shorten the season, and drought can mean the leaves fall before they fully turn. Shelburne says the Carolinas have gotten just enough rain to keep that from happening.

The forest ecology expert says colors should be most brilliant around mid-October in high areas. Lower areas should be at their peak in late October and early November.

Shelburne says some trees in high elevations like the Jocassee Gorges area are already starting to turn, with reds coming out in sourwoods and dogwoods.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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