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Fall Foliage Off to a Slow Start

One of the best parts of fall is touring northern states like Maine, Vermont, and New York while the leaves make their autumnal change from rich green to brilliant yellows, oranges and reds. Those planning a trip to do some leaf peeping should be excited for the season, but fall foliage expert Jim Salge from NewEngland.com (Yankee Magazine) has a message for vacationers; wait just a minute.

RELATED: Five Faves: Fall for Foliage 

Fall Foliage on Hold, For Now

Jim is a former meteorologist at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire and has authored a yearly fall foliage forecast for Yankee Magazine for quite some time. His analysis for fall 2018 shows the leaves in a “holding pattern,” meaning there is still plenty of green in the treetops.

The late start to the fall foliage season isn’t unexpected however. In a post on NewEngland.com, Jim explained that a hot and humid end to summer affects the coming fall.

Forecasts (including mine) were for heat and humidity to continue longer into September than normal this year for a number of reasons, including El Niño.” Jim wrote. “Last weekend, we checked in with photographers and foliage fans in the Green Mountains, the White Mountains, the Northeast Kingdom, the Great North Woods, and the Crown of Maine. These are areas where we usually see some peak color during the last week of September, but this year the reports were the same.”

Cooler weather is the catalyst for trees to start changing so if you’re looking to check out the foliage soon, going further north or finding elevation is the best way to ensure you get a great palate of warm colors to enjoy this early in the season. With more warm weather for New England and Northern New York in the immediate future, October could be well underway before we see peak foliage.

When Is the Best Time to Leaf-Peep?

Don’t wait too long to leave for the leaves, however. Colors can change drastically in just a day or two, sometimes overnight depending on the tree and region. If you’re planning a trip to see the colors, the best thing to do is simply wait a week or so until the colors really start to pop. Jim and his team operate a really unique interactive fall foliage map on their website which shows specific regions and the amount of change in the leaves. It’s a great tool for those who want to get the most out of their fall foliage cruise or road trip.

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