BANNER ELK, NC (WBTV) - Heavy rain and gusty wind near tropical storm force spelled bad news for the fall colors in some spots of the North Carolina Mountains.
In Avery County, one side of Grandfather Mountain shows most trees with no leaves left. Those that are still around, for the most part, are green. October 15th is generally the peak time for color in the highest elevations but not this year.
Warm weather kept the leaves from turning and when heavy rain and high winds hit last week, many leaves that were left were blown off. Christa Poore, who owns a restaurant near Pineola, says it has affected all businesses in the High Country. Though a lot of people are still in the mountains who had vacations planned, the crowds would be much bigger, she says, if the colors would come out.
A cold snap is expected by the end of the week. The question is whether there are enough leaves left to make a difference. In Banner Elk, there are a lot of leaves but they are still green. Locals estimate they are a week and a half to two weeks behind their normal schedule.
Experts say if the leaves do not change soon, they will drop off anyway.