Color Change is Underway above 5800'
Good afternoon folks! Another delayed post today but things are busy, which is a good thing, while the weather continues to be dry, warm, and boring. This bodes well for leaf peepers as the leaves stick around with little wind and no rain, however the verdict is still out as to whether it will make an impact on color brightness this season. Wetter months preceding the fall months tend to produce a duller color compared to a summer or early fall drought. That being said, we ran up to 6000' on 9/27 and found plenty of color to enjoy, with a scheduled peak window above 5800' sometime between 10/2 - 10/8. Most everything below 5000' is still transitioning to a late summer green, its mainly Graveyard Fields and the Shining Rock Wilderness Area (Tennent, Black Balsam, Sam Knob, etc.) that is turning over faster than forecasted. The above picture is just below Tennent Mtn, taken 9/27.
No meaningful rain is in sight through Saturday, with a possible round of light, isolated showers along the Highlands Plateau, Great Balsams, and escarpment Sunday; nothing more than a tenth of an inch forecasted. A high pressure system will influence the region after a backdoor front swings across the area Wednesday, ushering in drier but not necessarily cooler air for our part of the state; those pesky Great Balsams do a great job at blocking northeast flow setups. This high pressure system will keep our region dry through Saturday and then a weak cold front is reach out region early Sunday, possibly washing out Monday into Tuesday. The models are showing a slight pattern shift early next week, one that could usher in higher moisture levels and a few disturbances out of the southwest, but this is not a lock and something we can hope comes to fruition; no one likes a drought. Temps all the while will go from low 80's Tuesday and Wednesday to the upper 70's Thursday through Saturday, dropping a touch more on Sunday to the mid 70's due to an increase in cloud cover. The highest elevations above 5000' continue to hold to the upper 60's and there are no locations across SW NC that show temps in the 30's through at least 10/3, at any elevation.
With such a repeat forecast, we'll keep it short and sweet, circling back on Thursday morning to provide a little more detail into early next week. Temps Wednesday warm to the low 80's across the valleys, after another round of stubborn morning fog; mostly sunny skies after midday. The front moves through during the day, exiting Thursday morning and this will only impact wind direction, with a easterly then northerly flow setting up shop after midday. Drier air will enter the region but the high pressure system following the front will continue to suppress any showers as continue our stretch of dry weather; another sunny day. Temps cool down to the upper 70's for the valleys and we'll hit the repeat button on Friday and Saturday, with a round of light showers peppering the SC state line and Highlands Plateau Sunday, with a mixed bag of clouds and sun for the rest of SW NC; slightly cooler, highs in the mid 70's. Overnight lows from Wednesday morning to Sunday morning will not move much at all, holding to the upper 40's - mdi 50's depending upon elevation. We won't go all in on scattered or widespread rain Monday and Tuesday, but the chance is there and hopefully trending that direction as we move through the week.