Will it be a colorful fall?

Spotted on the Blue Ridge Parkway in previous years.

Will we see much of a colorful leaf season this fall here in the Blue Ridge?

Good question.  Leaves drop daily, leaving their dead carcasses on lawns, in gutters and on roads — while the display can and has been in full color over previous autumns — but the strange weather of 2016 could impact the annual display that brings visitors to the area.

“If our warmer-than-normal weather continues into fall, the colors will be later, more subdued and spottier,” says Beverly Collins, the designated fall weather forecaster for Western Carolina University.

Those who are supposed to know such things predict we will start seeing fall foilage colors starting about October 15 in elevations above 3,000 feet, which means our local heights of 2,ooo feet or so will get some color starting around October 22.

Some of us who ride motorcycles plan to venture over towards Mouth of Wilson next weekend and then down to Shatley Springs for an annual ride and, with luck, will see if colors are forming.

How much color?  That depends on what happens, weather-wise.

Heavy rains, like the ones we got in parts of Floyd County and in areas around us in Southwestern Virginia, could bring leaves down before they can display their full fall colors.

Warn weather delays the change of colors while a sudden onslaught of cold can bring them on for only a short time.

Some color is appearing higher elevations like Grandfather Mountain and in parts of the Mount Rogers recreation weather but a lot of factors can still determine whether it will be a vibrant, subdued or dim fall.

Time, and Mother Nature, will decide.

The color of winter on cool days on a Harley.
The color of winter on cool days on a Harley along the Blue Ridge Parkway in recent years.
Early morning sun and fall colors late in the fall season of 2009.

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© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse