Could Drought Affect Fall Colors?

By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief
By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief

Townsend, Blount County (WVLT) - There's been so little rainfall, you have to wonder what effect that might have on this year's fall colors in the Smokies.

WVLT Volunteer TV’s Stephen McLamb stopped by to see some of the experts at the National Park Service to find out.

The weather has been going through some extremes this year, but parks service officials say it's still too early to say what this year's changing of the leaves will look like.

Leaves in the park are a deep green, but it took them a little extra time to get that way after an early freeze killed those leaves back in March.

Since the first of the year, park officials say they've only gotten 19 inches of rain this year instead of the expected 32 inches at Elkmont.

So what effects will the back and forth weather conditions have?

"It's really too early to speculate about fall color though, because typically what creates the best fall color is the weather at the time the leaves are actually beginning to change,” says Bob Miller, Park Service spokesman.

Miller says other factors play a much larger role in how well the colors will be in the fall.

He says that is the temperature change from day to night once fall arrives.

He says warm days and then cool, but not freezing, nights produce the best color.

Miller says they hope to have a better idea what this year will be like once we get close to October, so right now, it's anybody's guess.

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