It's that time of year when Fall shows off its natural beauty in the Carolinas as leaves change colors in the midst of cooler temperatures and longer nights.
Weather plays a key role in determining the health of a region's foliage in a few areas. 1.) Soil moisture from Summer rain 2.) Sunshine and warm temperatures and 3.) Cool crisp, but not freezing/frosty nights.
As far as summer rain is concerned, Greenville (GSP International Airport) had close to normal rain falling about a half-inch below normal, while Asheville was about a quarter-inch above normal during the months of June, July and August (the months that define meteorological Summer).
Having both places be this close to average in the rain department is a good sign that soil moisture should be sufficient to help leaves produce the appropriate sugars to form their Fall colors.
What also helps this, is lots of sunshine, which we've had no problem in producing in recent days, that allows the leaves to produce chlorophyll which gives the leaves their green color.
As nights get longer and longer, the veins that carry these fluids, close up and prevent as much chlorophyll from spreading through the leave, which causes them to dry up and change colors.
Our nights have also been nice and cool recently, but have not produced frost or freeze, which is perfect for Fall foliage.
Safe to say that the outlook this year will be much better than last year, which suffered severe drought year-round, not to mention the ongoing wildfires at the time.
Colors are popping the most in the higher elevations above 5000 feet in western North Carolina right now,
As long as we keep the sun out in the coming days and the frost and freeze away at night, there shouldn't be much problem spreading that south into the Upstate in the coming month.
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