Fall foliage is on its way - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Fall foliage is on its way

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This is the time of year many people head outdoors, to places like the Blue Ridge Parkway or Peaks of Otter, to check out the changing leaves. WSLS 10 meteorologist, Patrick McKee, says a lot of the changes haven't even begun yet.

"It seems like we've gotten a little bit of a later start than what we typically see," says McKee. "Typically we're starting to get into peak season right about now, and we're not even nearing that yet. So we're probably running one to two weeks behind what we would typically see."

And the reason for the late changes, Patrick's specialty-- the weather. He says the weather we've been seeing over the past few weeks may be one factor to blame.

"Certainly the lack of rain we've had lately, hard to believe after our wet summer, but the lack of rain could have slowed the process down a little for us," he says.

Many parts of our area, like Roanoke, the Peaks of Otter and James River, are just starting to see the changes. For the Peaks of Otter, this is very good news.

The lodge was forced to close due to the government shut down, however over the weekend they worked out a deal with the Park Service. Now they're back open for business.

"It was unfortunate we closed in our peak season," says general manager, Robert Peters. "Our peak season starts October 1 and we were closed down October 3. But there is some good news, the leaves have not changed as much as we thought they would so there's still time to come up and look at the foliage."

Peters says fall foliage is a big deal at the Peaks of Otter.

"We definitely keep an eye on the leaves and see when the leaves are going to be changing. it's still fairly green, maybe 20% of leaves have been changing. so we still have time," says Peters. "People still have time to come enjoy it."

Patrick says over the next few weeks, we'll start seeing even more of those gorgeous pops of red and yellow.

"It starts in the higher elevations first then works its way down," he says. "But we'll see that dropping down as we go through the next two or three weeks until finally we get to the end of the season and everything goes brown. With the Roanoke Valley and Shenandoah Valley, about two weeks from now is when we'll expect to see the peak."


How to find the foliage

Fall Foliage Report: (800) 424-5683.
Forest Service Fall Color Hotline: (800) 354-4595 (Press "8" for Southern States Report)Shenandoah Valley: (800) 434-5323
Blue Ridge Parkway (between Waynesboro and the North Carolina Border): (828) 298-0398 (press "7")


For online information throughout Virginia and the East Coast:
Virginia launched an interactive website to help people find fall foliage and activities throughout the state. Go to www.virginia.org/fall.

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