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Virginia Tech expert says drought will likely put a damper on fall colors

Dry conditions leading to a less than favorable foliage forecast

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BLACKSBURG, Va. – The drought that most of us are in may prove to be disappointing for fall color fans, according to John Seiler. 

Seiler is a tree physiology expert at Virginia Tech, and says, "There are lots of trees that are going into what I call drought induced leaf abscission, versus normal fall leaf abscission which goes through first step, nice color development."

If we get some rain, Seiler says that some individual trees will still look pretty. However, he says that hillsides likely aren't going to be showing off this year.

Trees like red oaks and sugar maples are dropping their leaves prematurely, but he's hoping that other trees like scarlet oaks and hickories can compensate for that. That's if the first two weeks of October bring substantial rain to the area.

While our forecast doesn't call for widespread rain in the next week or so, Seiler does say that, "Localized thunderstorms have made a real difference in some localities."

The lack of moisture is one thing, but we (StormTeam 10) have noticed is the lack of cool nights and warm days. Our days and our nights have been unseasonably warm as of late.

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You're still encouraged to check out the colors this year, but don't expect it to be the most vibrant fall you've seen.


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