Blog Post By Jona Elwell

What’s In Store for Trees after All this Wacky Weather Pt. II

Considering we’re halfway through October (can you even believe it?!) you would think the country would be awash with gorgeous fall colors from changing leaves on trees. Think again – this fall wacky weather prevails again.

With an unseasonably cool spring that left cherry blossoms in a bit a rut, it’s feared fall foliage will have the same fate. Overall, vibrant fall colors occur when three factors come together: the days get shorter, dry weather prevails, and the temperature drops.

While the days got shorter and it’s been very dry recently, sustained cool to cold weather hasn’t arrived yet. In addition, this October is on its way to becoming one of the warmest on record.

And, unfortunately, the greatest threat to vibrant fall colors across the region is warm weather, according to AccuWeather.

In New England, and throughout Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks, where leaf peeping is tourist industry to be reckoned with, most people are noting that leaf-peepers seemed undeterred.  “When we made plans to do this fall colors trip, we were so excited about seeing more color, so it’s been a little disappointing,” said Marian Houston, from the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, Illinois, who visited Vermont as part of the foliage tour. “The colors are a little dull,” she said. “Still, it is beautiful.”

Never fear though! Paul Schaberg, a plant physiologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture says something more comforting. He noted, “[Peak fall color is] going to happen this year, but it’s going to happen at different times and different places than normal.” The progression of color is about a week late throughout the Northeast (the photo to the left, from NASA, shows foliage just barely arriving). Capital Weather Gang has you covered, with local spots to view the famous color show of trees, as well as a link to the Foliage Network report, which predicts foliage in our area.

Although our fall has been one of the warmest, trees in D.C. are predicting a snowy winter. What are your thoughts? We got a laugh from a bed and breakfast owner in Vermont that noted, “I think with the gorgeous weather you can’t really complain too much. We know what’s around the corner.

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