KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Fall in East Tennessee is one of the most beautiful times of the year. One of the things that makes fall so beautiful is the changing of the leaves, but what causes that change?
In the fall, the production of chlorophyll or green stops, and the actual colors of the leaves come through. The chlorophyll being produced actually covers up the original colors of the leaves. Temperature, light and water can all affect the intensity of the colors. Looking back at the past year, how could this year’s fall foliage look?
We’re doing okay in the moisture department. Over the past 365 days, we’re actually a little bit above average in rainfall.
One thing that we do need though is those cool, dry nights. That’s not looking good at least through the end of September. There’s about a 70% chance or greater opportunity of seeing above-average temperatures.
The average high this time of year is 84° and the average low is 62°. The way it is looking through at least the end of September, we will be at or above those values. This is important because the cooler temperatures at night and the dry conditions really make those colors pop.
So far, we’re not seeing a lot of colors. There is just a little bit in some of the highest peaks and as we go down into the lower elevations around 4,000 feet, we’ve got a little bit of color in Southeast Kentucky and South West Virginia.
The peak is normally around early October for the highest peaks of the Smokies and mid-October towards the lower elevations and Foothills and back across the Plateau. In the valley, the peak is around Halloween in late October. However, with this onset of these warmer temperatures kind of hanging around through September, we may be about a week off of some of these.