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Leaves changing color quickly in North Carolina mountains as October moves in

Combined with a cold snap last week, the color show accelerated and there’s been a marked change in just the past week.
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT
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LINVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - Visitors to the Grandfather Mountain area in Avery County Thursday got a surprise as they gazed at the hillsides.

Fall colors are already breaking out on the peaks.

“It’s pretty gorgeous for this time of year,” said Rick Burris, who is spending a few days with his wife Jane in the High Country.

They and others thought the burst of color was a bit early. Measured against recent years, that would seem correct.

Appalachian State University professor Dr. Howie Neufeld is considered an expert in fall colors and he says the annual leaf show is actually about on time, for a change.

“We had a mild summer, trees are full of leaves, and there’s no drought at this time,” Dr. Neufeld said.

Combined with a cold snap last week, the color show accelerated and there’s been a marked change in just the past week.

Neufeld says the highest elevations could be at peak color in just over a week, with other areas such as Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk, hitting their peak about the 15th to the 20th of October.

Some cooler weather will help, he says and it will be important to avoid any major storms with high winds.

Otherwise, he thinks 2021′s fall colors will be better than usual.

“I think it’s going to be an exceptional year this year,” Dr. Neufeld said.

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