High Winds From Michael Could Decimate An Already Late Leaf Season In WNC

Tropical Storm Force Gust Winds Expected

Hurricane Michael will make landfall today along the Florida Panhandle, and will then move up towards WNC. We will stay on the NW side of the storm, which will limit the rainfall here in Western North Carolina.. but the winds will be the main story. Higher elevation locations especially in the Blue Ridge Mountains could see wind gusts over 55mph tomorrow afternoon/evening. These gusts look to persist through the early hours of Friday, so please secure your outdoor accessories if possible today. Below you can see a map of the wind gust expected. Some 70mph gust could be felt across many NC locations, but it appears the highest winds will stay away from WNC.

6z Max Surface Wind Gust For Thursday Afternoon

6z Max Surface Wind Gust For Thursday Afternoon

Leaf Season Blue

The leaves in higher elevations have struggled to change due to the excessive amounts of rainfall we received this year, and the lack of cold air has only furthered the problem. Many leaves look splotchy and appear to be dying while they are still green. This is because the sugars are not being allowed to run their normal processes. The lack of rain and cool temperatures begin to allow the leaf to release from the tree, but that is not happening this year yet. So the leaves are around 2 weeks behind here in WNC, and what we don’t need is a strong storm to move through and blow them all off. Enter Michael… Michael is that storm that we didn’t want to see. It will effectively blow off a good deal of leaves along the Blue Ridge Parkway in my opinion. I think we could see many trees nearly bare after the storm passes in higher elevation locations. Sadly this is not what I want to predict, but it appears to be the reality. Wind gust of over 50mph will easily pull of leaves that should have already fallen off by this time now anyways. I don’t expect as much leaf loss in the lower elevations, but there will still be some and that will affect the overall appearance of the trees going forward. All and all a sad leaf season for leaf lookers here in WNC, but winter is just around the corner for snow lovers!