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Will the heat dome ruin Arkansas's fall foliage?

With the recent heat dome impacting Arkansans statewide and the official start of Fall just weeks away, many are wondering whether we can still expect fall foliage.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — With the official start of Fall just weeks away, our sights are already set on football, cool temperatures, and yes, the leaves changing colors.

"We can get some beautiful colors. Our black gums, our sumacs, the oaks, even the sweet gums will turn these beautiful vibrant colors in the Fall," described Vic Ford, head of agriculture and natural resources for the Cooperative Extension Service.

However, he added that unfortunately, Fall 2023 may fall flat due to a lack of rainfall.

"Right now, if you start looking around, we’re getting yellows. In fact, further south the elms have turned yellow and eventually brown. There is the black gum which is usually the first thing to turn red in the fall. They’re not really turning that nice pretty red," he explained.

Not only is the drought from this Summer affecting this season's foliage— but a moderate to strong El Nino in the coming months won't do us any favors either.

“We’ve just had this big high-pressure bubble over the top of us. Just keeps getting hotter and hotter," said Ford. "Something will move it whether that’s a hurricane in the gulf or a system out of the Pacific Northwest and then we’ll become more seasonal."

Although this fall may not be as vibrant as those in the past, the Natural State will still have plenty of beauty to offer!

"Maybe we’ll get some nice yellows and maybe get some nice oranges. I’m hoping for that anyway," he added.


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