The most recent drought monitor was released yesterday by the USDA, and all of WNC is now considered to be in a drought. The severity of drought varies greatly from valley to valley, but the overall sentiment is that the ground is extremely dry, and several inches of rain will be needed to break that. Below you can see the most recent drought monitor produced by the USDA.
Locations to the Northeast of Asheville have been significantly drier compared to locations in the French Broad River Valley, and that is hard to believe considering how dry it has been around Asheville. That also holds true when you travel to the Southwest of Asheville. Severe drought has even been designated in parts of Macon County. A pattern change is needed in the worst way, and some long range models indicate that being possible.. but its at least a week away.
Slight Relief On The Way This Weekend For WNC
Short range models indicate that scattered thunderstorms will be possible each afternoon over the weekend for select locations. There’s no guarantee that your house will see rainfall, but the chances will certainly increase as we push through the weekend and into early next week. Below you can see the most recent NAM 3km and what it shows for this weekend.
Some leaves around the area appear to be experiencing some stress, and in turn they are beginning to yellow earlier. Check out this tweet from a local weather expert Evan Fisher:
Many area trees are ahead of schedule as far as yellowing, and that appears to be due to the drought that has built over the past 2 months. The chlorophyll is already dying out in some leaves, and that accelerates their changing process. I am not exactly sure how this will affect the overall vibrancy of leaves this year in WNC, but one would imagine that it would have a negative influence. Ideally all leaves will die at the same time so that the tree will all turn its designated color at once. If leaves begin to die before others, then the color will be spotty in nature. Pictures are beginning to come in though of higher elevation leaf change, so time will tell regarding vibrancy.