After early summer flooding, more recent sunny skies are expected to help usher in a colorful fall season to the Carolinas.
Autumn begins at 4:44 p.m. Sunday, and meteorologists say temperatures wont be excessively warm. That would point to a colorful tree canopy in the Carolinas and a likelihood that many of us wont depend too much on air conditioning or heat into December.
The main thing that makes for good fall color are sunny days beginning in mid- to late-August and continuing into September, coupled with cool nights, says Howard Neufeld, an Appalachian State University professor whose weekly leaf-watching reports have earned him the title of Fall Color Guy.
Cool Canadian high pressure brought the recent steady dose of sunshine and relatively cool nights, says James Oh, of the National Weather Services office in Greer, S.C.
We went from heavy rain to very dry weather this summer, Oh said.
There is no consensus on whether a steady dose of heavy rain will return to the Carolinas this autumn. The governments Climate Prediction Center is calling it down the middle, predicting an equal chance of dry or wet weather in the Southeast.
But Paul Pastelok, long-range forecaster for Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather, thinks a flood risk will continue this fall in the Southeast. He sees the region as a battleground between cool air to the north and stubborn tropical air masses to the south.
Its hard to pinpoint exactly who is going to be hit with the worst, as far as flooding goes, he says. They are all at risk in the mid-Atlantic states, the Southeast.
The Atlanta-based Weather Channel predicts autumn will be cooler than average in the Southeast.
Its forecasters expect a continuation of a summer trend in which the temperature in Charlotte hit 90 degrees or higher only 20 times the fewest 90-degree days in a decade.
Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less