Thanks to this fall foliage prediction map, we already know exactly when autumn color will peak across the United States this year. But now we also know where the leaf peeping will be the best in 2018.
According to Max Vido, an Accuweather meteorologist, the most spectacular fall colors will be seen this year between southern New York state across southern New England in areas like the Catskill Mountains and Connecticut.
“In this region, rainfall has not been as extreme from the summer months and near- to below-normal autumn rain is expected,” Vido says. That, combined with the number of cool nights and sunshine-filled days expected in the weeks ahead will only enhance the vibrancy of the foliage.
While the fall colors in the rest of New York and New England are expected to be as good as they are in any average year, peak color in the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley is predicted to be lackluster due to higher than average temperatures and rain. Warmer weather prevents the pigment in the leaves from developing to their full potential, according to Vido.
On the other side of the country, the fall colors may also struggle to develop after an extremely dry summer in the Pacific Northwest caused stress to the trees, which will also stunt the intensity of the colors.
But if you were worried that Hurricane Florence might have completely damaged all of the leaves in the Smoky Mountains and Appalachians when it blew through the region in September, experts say it left most of Tennessee and the western parts of North Carolina alone.
“It knocked a few percent of the leaves off, but most are still on the trees,” Howard Neufeld, a professor of plant eco-physiology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, told the Asheville Citizen Times. “The fortunate thing is that it came through before most of the trees started to turn color. Because the leaves were still green, they held on pretty tightly by the tree.”
Although the leaves are still there, the warm weather that has continued well into September may dull and delay the color change in the trees.
So, if you only have one weekend to spare for a fall foliage road trip, program your GPS to head to New York’s Catskill Mountains for a cozy weekend getaway.