Fall colors forecast: Vibrant foliage to peak early this year

Experts say the mountains will see healthy and vibrant foliage.

Temperatures are cooling, daylight is rising later and setting sooner, and Vol football is just days away. The signs are all here: Autumn is coming. 

Many consider Sept. 1 the meteorological start to fall, however the season doesn't officially begin until the Fall Equinox on September 22. 

Last week, we asked people on Facebook if they were ready and excited for the arrival of autumn. We might as well have asked you if puppies were adorable, or if you thought if breathing was necessary to continue living, because the results were a resounding "yes."

For many, the most anticipated part of the season doesn't come in the form of pigskin on the field or pumpkin spice in... well, everything conceivable now. It comes in the form of colors.

Last year's fall colors were impressive, but not quite the quality East Tennessee had come to expect. The reason was because the summer had been much warmer than usual on top of a long sustained period without rain, leading to moderate to severe drought conditions that caused trees to go dormant and leaves to fade to brown quickly. 

That is definitely not the case this year, though. A relative abundance of rain on top of a mild summer with plenty of sunny days is setting up the perfect conditions for vibrant fall colors across the mountains.

This interactive fall colors map can be found on smokymountains.com.

Most of East Tennessee is expected to see peak fall colors shortly after the start of October. This is actually earlier than normal because of the cool temperatures we've been enjoying the last few weeks. The mountains typically don't reach peak viewing conditions until the second week in October, but as you can see it's expected to be just past the peak by that time. 

People will notice leaves beginning to change colors soon, too. By mid-September the leaves should start shifting to fall colors across the area. The leaves at the highest elevations of the Smokies are expected to peak around Oct. 1, and the majority of East Tennessee should reach peak a week later.

The only snag in having perfect fall colors yet to be seen is how the weather holds out in September. As we approach October, we'll want to see mostly sunny weather with increasingly cooler temperatures for perfection. A little rain here and there will also be welcome, so long as it doesn't oversaturate the ground.

RELATED: East Tennessee weather forecast 

If we maintain our current course, we're in for a spectacular leaf watching season!

 

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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