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Conditions appear right for good leaf colors in eastern Kentucky

Stu Johnson

October in Kentucky brings with it lots of color to trees across the Commonwealth. Robert Meyers is the state naturalist. In addition to flooded communities, Meyers said many sections in eastern Kentucky have seen consistent rains. So, he said that’s a predictor for good colors over the next month. Meyers cites Harlan County’s Kingdom Come State Park as an example where elevation makes a difference.

“And then you’re following along the little shepherd’s trail which is a real popular little road to drive in the fall you’re back up to 3000-foot elevation so it’s going to be later at the end of the month before that peak kicks in. But, when you go down the mountain and it’s warmer, then you might look at the third week of October,” said Meyers.

Meyers said strong storms can play a role too if they roll through and knock leaves to the ground. The state naturalist noted Kentucky draws fall visitors from other states, especially in areas like the Red River Gorge and Pine Mountain.

Sections of eastern Kentucky are known for brilliant fall colors. Meyers added it’s more of a question mark in central Kentucky, where there have been dry spells.

“Somewhat hesitant to say ‘yes it’s going to be a great fall. That’s gonna be soon determined in central Kentucky because of those shorter rainfall accumulations. But in eastern and north and south central eastern Kentucky, I think that’s gonna be as in the past. I think we’re going to have good colors,” said Meyers.

Meyers said that in addition to rainfall, warmer days and cooler nights help to spur on color.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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