68 NC counties and 1 VA county are under alert, including Wake, Cumberland, Durham, Johnston, and Orange counties. Details
Published: 2013-10-11 12:26:00
Updated: 2013-10-11 12:32:11
Posted October 11, 2013
By Elizabeth Gardner
It’s getting good up in the hills!
Reports are that leaves haven’t peaked except in the highest elevations at and above 5,000 feet.
A professor at Appalachian State University reports that around Boone and Blowing Rock about 40 percent of the trees are showing color. Elevations there are around 3,500 feet. A little higher up around Grandfather, Beech and Sugar mountains there is color in about 75 percent of the trees.
That makes it a good weekend for leaf peeping but next weekend and the weekend after should also be good. See, share fall fun photos
Cold temperatures help the process along a bit, and finally this week there were a few overnight lows in the northern mountains in the mid 30s. Temperatures near freezing cause a chemical reaction in the leaves that brightens the color. Right now some of the prettiest trees are sourwood, sassafrass and maple.
A little farther south, near Asheville, there are reports of more subdued color. Estimates are that the leaves are two to three weeks away from peak in southwest NC.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is normally a great place to go to see fall color. Just remember that facilities are closed along the parkway due to the government shutdown. The road is open. As of now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed, but the federal government announced that individual states could re-open their national parks with their own money if they choose. No word yet on whether North Carolina and Tennessee will do this.
Normally I would highly recommend going to Cataloochee Valley in early October to see the elk. It’s the rutting season, and it’s quite a show to see the male elk battle each other in the meadow in person.
Check back next week for more color updates!