Best time for fall colors

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – It's that time of year- leaves will soon be changing with the temperatures and shorter days. Most people can appreciate this time of year and the beautiful and vivid colors that usually come with it. When is the peak time for fall foliage in our area? Let's find out.

In the western mountains of North Carolina, the peak time for vibrant fall colors ranges from very early October through late October. The peak for the rest of North Carolina is generally late October to early November. In western portions of South Carolina, it's usually mid-to-late October when colors are most lively, while colors tend to reach their peak in early-to-mid November for areas in northeast South Carolina and southeast North Carolina. Areas further inland tend to reach that point before areas closer to the coast.

Several factors come into play in determining what the fall colors will look like each year. Temperature, amount of sunlight, amount of rain and soil moisture all play a role. Cool air and lots of daytime sunshine promotes the formation of more reds and purples, but an early frost can damage the leaf's ability to manufacture pigments those colors. The best weather for brilliant fall foliage is ample moisture during the summer, followed by a dry, cool and sunny autumn with warm days and cool but frostless nights.

Seeing as how our inland areas typically experience the season's first frost in late October and the fact that we have had ample rain this past summer, we can probably expect a colorful autumn this year.

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