New England fall foliage forecast, May 2012
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***This update is from May and if you want the most current reports hit my Predictions and reports page where you can find the most current information. There is a tab at the top of the page that will take you there.***

(Disclaimer) Please remember this is not a guaranteed forecast or prediction that you should bank on! I’m watching the weather over New England and making assumptions based on that.  We know what they say about listening to folks that make ASSumptions… :-)

April: The end of April provided a little rain which helped but did not solve our drought conditions, but the 2-3 inches did help.

May: The 1st of May was a drizzly day and it kept up all day and much of New England got the same slow rain. This is great because the rain all gets soaked into the ground instead of running off directly into the rivers. Then on the 2nd it dried out (for the most part with a little more overnight) Today the 3rd, is dry which is perfect and then we’re looking at a wet three days and then clear and dry for 7 days.

Why is this great? When we get rain for weeks straight, it leads to a fungus that affects our beloved sugar maples. (among many others). It’s called the Anthracnose fungi and it also attacks, basswood and birch stands which provide wonderful yellow colors. If you follow this forest service link  it will tell more about the fungi.

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Fall color affected by insects and fungus

Fall color affected by fungus and insects

The thing we have to worry about is a prolonged soaking which will bring the fungi out of dormancy and cause it to attack the trees over the summer and by the fall the leaves prematurely brown and fall to the ground. So when I see short periods of rain followed by longer periods of sunny dry weather, I’m reasonably positive that we are heading for a great fall season. (This is the current forecast over the next 10 days).

2011 versus 2012

One thing I told a reader last week was what killed New England’s fall foliage in 2011 was a triple whammy.

  1. A wet spring which caused the Anthracnose fungi to flourish (turned some leaves brown)
  2. Hurricane Irene dumped saltwater all along it’s track into New England (burned the leaves)
  3. The temperatures didn’t really get seasonal until Columbus day weekend (WAY late)

This gave us too many issues to come back from. If! This year, we only have the warmer temperatures then we may have later color, but we will have glorious fall foliage colors. Right now the NOAA predictions are for a warm fall and if this comes to pass, we will have our color but it will be delayed. (Of course if we stay in the 70s-80s till November… well you can write of fall again we need to get the cold nights and sunny days to produce the tapestry of colors). When I say a warm fall that is delayed, I mean it still gets cold but it will be only a week or two late.. Not a month or more…

(Tell me Jeff, how do I plan for this?)

Plan your trip with both a positive weather outlook and a less than positive occurrence. Have you been to the Highland games in Northern NH? Well plan on doing that for one day and while you are there you can day trip the next day to the Kancamagus highway. Still no color? Head up Loon Mountain on their gondola and check out the caves up there (a several hour bit of fun and kids and adult like it all the same).

I’ll keep trying to come up with ways for you to make you time fun and interesting while you are her in New England… And!!! I also get daily reports from photographer friends and I pass this out on my blog and twitter feed (Foliage_reports) so follow along.

Jeff Foliage

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New England fall foliage forecast, May 2012 — 2 Comments

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