Welcome to my January 2013, fall foliage prediction.

Click here to be taken to my current year forecasts and predictions. If you have any questions I’d love to hear foliage questions of feedback on my site. Confused? I especially want to hear about it, so I can fix it, if possible!

The wheel in the Gristmill upon which the seasons all sit, continues to turn and we’re full into winter. It’s time once again for my first New England fall foliage forecast for 2013. I’ve been looking over the data from the NOAA climatology prediction folks and looking at what El Niño and La Niña will be doing to us come this autumn.

Autumn 2012 recap

In looking back over September and October 2012, I have to say, I was pretty close, (okay I was damn near dead on) to what we actually got. We were looking in 2012, at slightly above temperature and average rainfall for September and October. (We were dry in Sept and wet in Oct so it did average out)

A very early sign of the fall foliage to come.

Along the Battle road in Lexington MA 14 Sept 2012

What we received was a mixed bag with evening temperatures in the 40s and dry conditions. Normally I would’ve said that these temperatures weren’t cold enough to get the colors to change. This is true but this is where we hit the Joker in the deck.

We were receiving these low temperatures from Massachusetts north to Canada. The temps contributed to early color changes all across northern New England. They weren’t massive color changes, definitely not peak, but they were enough to get a lot of people excited.

Dots of red fall foliage and tinges of yellow can be seen.

Signs of early color mid Sept 2012

I took trips during early September and I was surprised at how much color I was seeing in Massachusetts. by the middle of September I was seeing nice (but not peak) fall color in Woodstock New Hampshire. At one of my favorite locations, the beaver pond north of Woodstock on route 112, there were dots of red all over the hillsides and there was a definite yellow tinge of color to many of the Maple trees.

Even in the rain the peak fall colors were clearly evident at dawn

Even in the rain on the 1st of Oct, the peak fall colors were clearly evident.

On October 1st I took a drive up to Lincoln New Hampshire and I arrived at the flume gorge just as dawn was breaking. It was a soggy dawn with low clouds covering the tops of all the mountains. Even as I sat at the parking lot for the flume I could see in the pale morning light that the Hills were aflame with color as soon as the rain moved out there would be an awesome peak fall foliage to see.

A multi-hued maple in front of an old barn.

A multi-hued maple in front of an old barn on 1 Oct

I drove further north up route 93 to Littleton New Hampshire, where I got off and followed 116 N. to Whitefield. from there it’s almost anybody’s guess but I hit route 2 over to Gorham and route 3 N. to Groveton following route 110 E. to Stark New Hampshire. This is my first time in Stark and I photographed the church and covered bridge that I’ve been trying to get to for years.

The cloudy weather that we had on the 1st of October broke for the morning of the 2nd and I had a glorious sunrise at the beaver pond in New Hampshire. But unfortunately for many of my fellow travelers this pattern of rain was to stick with us for a couple of weeks.


The rain continued

the morning sun rise above the hills above the beaver pond which is north of Woodstock New Hampshire. The sun lit up the peak fall foliage on the walls of the bowl.

Beaver Pond at dawn on 2 Oct.

The rain continued off and on from the 3rd of October to nearly the 12th. The effect that all this rain had on the foliage was simple. It slowed the progression of the colors and what started as an incredible display of fall color on 2 October slowed to a snails crawl during the next two weeks.

There was color to be found but it wasn’t the awe-inspiring color that I had seen during the last part of September into October. This is the downside if we receive rain during late September to October.

Why do I bring this up? It’s very simple, this prediction that follows can’t take into account what the weather will be on a day-to-day basis. It’s only meant to give you a general idea of what the weather will be during that time. An indicator, as you will, of what you might get.

how do I create my fall foliage prediction?

I have three sources that I consult to create my New England fall foliage prediction.

  • First, I look over what the NOAA climate prediction folks had to say and if you’re interested in researching this on your own and you are hopefully better than me in statistics then follow the link to their website.
  • Second, I consult the old Farmer’s almanac from Yankee magazine. This venerable publication has been around for a lot of years and more often than not they are pretty close. Please feel free to visit them and you can pick up the 2013 old Farmer’s almanac on your newsstands now.
  • Third, I do a gut check and given the size of my gut it should be pretty accurate. :-) This is where the rubber meets the pavement and on a month by month basis I’ll take a look at the numbers and what the general weather is doing in New England.

My January 2013 fall foliage prediction

(Yes I finally got down to it) In general both the NOAA folks and the almanac agree that the temperatures will be above normal again this year. And the only real difference between them, is that NOAA says there is equal chances of above or below normal rain and the Old Farmers Almanac says below normal rain. I’m abstaining on how much rainfall we’ll get because if you go back and read my 2012 predictions we were supposed to have average to below normal rainfall. In reality we had almost 2 weeks of rain in October. :-(

Fall foliage survey says!

Jeff Foliage viewing peak fall foliage

Jeff Foliage looking out on all the incredible fall color at the beaver pond.

So it looks like depending on who is correct, we will have a good to great fall foliage season in 2013.

What you need to do is bookmark this page and come back every month and check for updates. Personally I would come back every day and check to see if anything new is on the horizon. :-)

I put a new page on the website for predictions and forecast reports and you can find that on the top of the page in the menu line. So this year you’ll be able to locate all of my prediction and fall foliage reports in a single location so you won’t have to go hunting through all my posts.

So that’s it for January’s fall foliage prediction, a positive outlook on the 2013 fall foliage season. Please check back in February (or every day as I suggested) for my next fall foliage season prediction.

Jeff “Foliage” Folger
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Comments

New England fall foliage prediction – 2013 — 14 Comments

  1. Jeff, thank you for your great work. I live in the Hudson Valley but try to visit New England as often as I can to photograph. (Rhode Island is a regular stomping ground for me.) In October 2012 I took in New Hampshire’s foliage season for the first time in 3 years, staying in North Conway as usual. The motel prices during the Fryeburg Fair and Columbus Day weekend mean that I end up going off-peak, in more ways than one. I started out on October 8. All in all I had decent weather, except for rain on the day I shot the Shelburne Birches, which is just what I wanted. On the whole the foliage was a bit past peak, more of the russet brown and orange shades than the reds, but that has a beauty of its own. The drama at the Cherry Pond was remarkable as autumn contended with winter. I’ll be checking you out regularly for further foliage predictions. I’m SO glad to have discovered the New England Photography Guild. By the way, I see you live in Salem. You must have visited the Ansel Adams exhibit at the PEM. Literally overnight that changed the way I approach my B&W photography. nancydeflonphoto@gmail.com

    • I loved the exhibit and wish I could have met him. I would like to see the birches shot. I keep trying to get a good one but I haven’t been lucky enough in that area. I did take a ICM (intentional camera movement) at Pondicherry that included the reflection.

  2. Coming back to the east after 5 years for more leaf peeping. We toured Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire last time and this time will do Mass, Rhode Island, Conn, Penn and maybe New York. What are some of the best scenic routes? Is the second week in Oct looking peak for these areas. I will try and read all your info to see what you are predicting:) Thanks Cali Girl

    • I might go just a bit later… I would think that 13-18 October would be better. Especially as you want to hit CT & RI. The further south you go the later you will need to think. For me 14 Oct seems to be a really good date for central MA. The higher elevations of the Berkshires will be a bit earlier and I would say 7-10 Oct. But for the Quabbin and areas like that 14-18 is the sweet spot. (IMHO) Let me know what you decide and actually find! (I love trip reports that tell me how my prediction goes.

    • Hi Cali Girl, for the central and southern states you will be targeting 12ish Oct to 1 November (depending on the weather we get). I find that central MA is good from 10 Oct on, until the colors are gone and we go through Halloween. Even if the color is early and I don’t think that will be the case this year… but even if it does you should find lots to see…

I'd love to hear what you think!