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Vividness Of Fall Foliage In NEPA Still Uncertain

September 24, 2018
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Vividness Of Fall Foliage In NEPA Still Uncertain

Leaf peepers are in for a vibrant show of fall foliage across southern New York and New England, forecasters say, but they’re not sure about the vividness of the colors in Northeast Pennsylvania this autumn.

“There is uncertainty as to how vibrant the colors will end up being this season,” said Tony Zartman, a meteorologist for AccuWeather. “There is some concern that the warm nights early in the season may dull some of the color.”

The foliage season could also be pushed back a week due to the wet and recent warm weather, he said, but colorful leaves could stay on the trees longer, because of a lack of a lot of wind with the wet weather.

“Peak colors are expected to occur during the last week of October, but that will be variable on temperatures and rainfall over the next month,” Zartman said.

Brighter colors are expected in New York and New England because those areas didn’t have the extreme summer rainfall and they have a higher likelihood for dry, cool nights, which enhance the colors, he said.

Early indicator trees have already begun to change across the northern tier of the state, but nothing so far in the middle or southern regions of the state, said Ryan Reed, an environmental education specialist with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

DCNR will be posting weekly fall foliage reports on its website, www.dcnr.pa.gov, starting Thursday, as fall foliage typically peaks for several weeks across the state beginning in October. The reports will be updated every Thursday.

The wet weather this year allowed trees, shrubs and vines to grow and thrive, making for spectacular, lush greens, but also allowing for a banner year for fungi, Reed said. While fungi is widespread, only a handful of the more than 130 species of trees in Pennsylvania are affected, he said.

“There are hundreds of species that will steal the show,” Reed said. “It’s a slam dunk for fall foliage season. I think we’re in for a great year.”

Some people travel with the peaking foliage starting in the northern tier in early October, moving through the middle portion of the state in late October and ending in the southeast in the beginning of November, he said. Timing-wise, this should be an average year, Reed said.

Fall foliage is linked to the amount of daylight we get. As daylight dwindles, the trees stop producing chlorophyll and that’s what drives the change, causing the leaves to peak, Reed said.

Florists know that they can force, or manipulate, conditions to move plants along, and Mother Nature can do the same thing, he said. Five or six days of crisp, cool weather can force the foliage to peak, Reed said.

The most vivid years are those where there were several consecutive days of traditional cool, crisp fall weather, and the peaks will overlap, he said.

Additional information on fall activities and best viewing of seasonal colors can also be found on the Pennsylvania Tourism Office website, visitpa.com/season/fall.

Contact the writer:

kmonitz@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3589

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