Fall Colors on the Way

A few weeks ago, Corey, we had Ophelia come in. And in some places, that’s the only rain that these folks have gotten. And since then it’s just been continued dryness and that’s starting to show up on the Drought Monitor

It’s unfortunately pretty easy to give a rainfall report over the last week, even the last two weeks because aside from parts of coastal South Carolina that saw a little bit of rain yesterday morning, the rest of the states have seen basically nothing really across the Piedmont in the Midlands are down in South Carolina. There’s been almost no rain to speak up so far in October, and you’re right, that has some drought showing up now on the Drought Monitor map. We are really looking at a just a west of the Charlotte area in North Carolina down through the southern mountains, and then in Upstate South Carolina, places like Greenville and Spartanburg, beginning to even creep down toward the Columbia area. So we’ve got a fairly broad area at this point. It is classified in moderate drought, even more widespread, abnormally dry conditions mainly across the western two thirds of North Carolina. But like you said, it even places farther east that had a pretty good soaking rain from Ophelia back at the end of September are looking really dry at this point. Wilmington is more than seven inches below normal since the beginning of September. Greenville is more than three inches below normal, and in the Northeast, Elizabeth City, which has been one of those stubborn dry spots since the summer. is more than two inches below normal. So we’re thankful that we had one good storm so far this fall. But the way things are going, we’re going to need another one and another pretty widespread one to get rid of some of these precipitation deficits that we’re building.

For the North Carolina State Fair, which is now underway in Raleigh, State Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler is praying for no rain and those cool temperatures. So that works out well for him. I do want to follow up on those fall colors.

It should be really good again, a very on-time fall color display this year, and this is the second year in a row that will have that, but if you remember back before that it had been almost a decade since we had actually seen that timely October, early November arrival of the fall color because it had just been so warm for most of those falls. But again with that nice cooldown and the temperatures that we saw late last month, and it’s continued through the first couple of weeks of October, it looks like that’s really going to have those leaves changing right on time, which for most of the Piedmont in North Carolina is somewhere right around Halloween to the first week of November when we can expect the peak color. Further west, obviously that will happen a little bit sooner, and further east, a little bit later.