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Drought could give us better colors for fall in the Smokies

Published: Sep. 22, 2016 at 4:45 PM EDT
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Fall color experts are looking for a big, vibrant fall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The lack of rain this summer may be a big help.

Rangers say on years of a dry summer, fall rains helped produce some of the best colors on record.

"A little rain would help. Some of our most vibrant seasons have happened after there has been a drought and we get several days of good fall rains and we've had some explosions of color after that," said Dana Soehn a park spokeswoman. "For the first day of fall, we are about where we should be, especially at the lower elevations, but that change is around the corner."

Soehn says most of the park is green and right now there are some "splashes of color" throughout the park. She says there are signs that a drive to areas above 5,000 ft in a few weeks will be very pretty.

"There's going to start to be that splash of color along with the browns and the yellows from the iron woods and muscle woods," she added.

Soehn says we are still on track for peak season to come mid-October. For anyone planning a visit, she recommends a time between October 1 and October 31 as the change starts from the highest elevations and works its way down the mountainsides to the lower areas.

October is typically the second busiest month for visitation to the park. July is the busiest. So far this year, visitation has increased in all months.

The park service plans to release foliage reports and that information can be found at the link below.

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