Drought and heat could affect Fall colors

It’s the first day of Fall and the leaves are already beginning to change in the north Georgia mountains.

Usually it’s well into October before leaves begin changing; but WSB meteorologist Kirk Melhuish says the hot, dry weather seems to be drying them up and making them fall early.

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“It’s really abnormal to have as many 90 and even close to 100-degree days this late in the year. Normally if we’re going to get that, it would come in July and August,” he says.

Mellish says it likely means a limited number of days of good color compared to normal.

But Lisa Salman, tourism manager for the Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce, tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish that even if it’s a shorter than usual leaf season, it’s not expected to keep people from enjoying all the activities the mountains have to offer.

“They come up here just for the Fall experience,” she says; including apple picking, pumpkin patches, festivals and cabin rentals.

Salmon says the chamber will likely take hundreds of calls asking when the leaves will peak; which, she says, is usually the end of the October.

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