(WJHL) — With the cooler air comes more vibrant colors as leaves transform and eventually fall, marking the end of the warm seasons. The quality of the color season often depends on the summer season.
A hot and dry summer tends to put more stress on the trees and can often lessen the amount of vibrant color. Looking back, our summer weather conditions were ideal overall despite the brief dry and hot period we experienced. The overall precipitation was near average through the summer months of June, July and August.
Fall color is already noticeable in the highest of elevations. The recent cool weather we have experienced will likely lead to near-peak color conditions within the next two weeks.
Southwest Virginia will see a later peak, mainly in mid to late October. Higher elevations will see peak color sooner compared to a later peak color in late October.
Tri-Cities can expect peak color in late October extending into early November.
These color forecasts can change now that we are in the fall season. Any significant high wind or rain event can negatively affect the color. Also, any significant freeze will shorten the life of the fall color. So, given our fall climate, we can hope for sunny and mild days, and clear and cool nights that will certainly maximize this year’s fall color.
Given the varying weather conditions, some weeks may be better than others to view the fall color. Be sure to follow the latest Storm Team 11 forecast throughout the fall season.
The map shows that Northeast Tennessee began seeing a minimal change in the color of the leaves beginning Sept. 19, and the colors continue to evolve until the leaves reach their peak later in October and early November dependent on elevation.
“While no tool can be 100% accurate, this tool is meant to help travelers better time their trips to have the best opportunity of catching peak color each year,” the website states.
Below the interactive map, Smoky Mountains National Parks reveals the science behind the change in hue and eventual fall of leaves from deciduous trees, describing the annual process as a sort of protection for the trees during the winter months.