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My July fall foliage outlook

My first part of this fall foliage outlook will be for those who love to geek out over the statistics of El Niño and computer models of weather prediction. Those who just want “what I think will happen in Sept and October?” go to the last section for my gut feeling and the fall foliage outlook for New England.

View off the trail of the nearby mountains with all the hillsides covered in fall foliage

View off the trail of the nearby mountains

Contest winner for June!

The winner for June was Skip Redfield. But I’ve not heard back from Skip! (multiple emails have been sent) So if I don’t hear back prior to announcing the July comment to win article, Skip’s prize will roll over to the next winner and they get to pick TWO items.

So if you are going to comment to win make sure you add to your safe email list. SKIP..Where are you???

NOAA models for August through October

I’ve weighed through pages of statistical data (snooze…) and my take away is this: El Niño has been on the rise since January and aside from a dip in May, it has maintained and will maintain through the end or the year (read about El Niño here). The result will be above average temps and equal chances for above/below or average precipitation.

Temperature and precipitation models for Aug-Oct 2015

I also have looked at the Sept, Oct, Nov models and they show little variation from the Aug-Oct models. So unless Mother nature steps in to take an active role, the results this fall should be as noted below.

As of the end of May NOAA is predicting a below-normal Atlantic Hurricane Season this year. Read why in this NOAA article. But my take away from that is less hurricanes is not no hurricanes. So I’ll still be watching the tropical disturbances until the end of October.

Do you want to check real-time conditions in New England from your computer? Check my webcams of New England.

Here is a link to the NOAA climate prediction pages so you can view them for yourself.

My gut feeling for the fall foliage outlook

What these data points mean to me is that the foliage season may be a little slow to start and develop (bad) but it may be drawn out over a longer period (good). If we get lots of sunny days then we will still see good color development. If we get lots of cloudy days (with or without rain) then this will impact the colors the most.

So far the upside is, the current rainfall is slightly below normal but it’s close enough to the average, that the leaves should have a good strong bond to the branches. This also means they will be slower to drop while they are developing color. (resistant to wind and rain).

Also the threat from Anthracnose is low. (This is a fungus that attacks the maple leaves by turning the edges brown and they prematurely fall off.) It’s normal to have a little of this but it gets much worse if we get rain for a week or two straight) but so far we’re looking good there. (again knock on wood)

The average rainfall is what always worries me because if we have less cloudy days and more sunny days so the colors will be brighter. Unfortunately there is no way to predict this, until the week or two prior.

Also the NOAA folks are calling for less hurricane potential this hurricane season. This “hopefully” means that we’ll have less big winds coming through New England to bring down the leaves.



Wondering what insect ALB or EAB are? read about it here.

Things that may invalidate this or vary the results…

If September cools down abnormally causing the leaves in areas outside of northern New England to turn early. This happened in 2012 but nothing is pointing to that happening as of now. One of the “few” hurricanes runs over the top of New England (Think hurricane Sandy in 2012). Hopefully none of these events happen… (knock on wood) 🙂

So my outlook is good but guarded. We should have a long season of fall colors but there may be less “peak” fall foliage found and more green mixed in with the colors you do find. (Not always a bad thing)

Jeff "Foliage" Folger  You can purchase images by visiting my Fine Art Gallery websites
Subscribe to my Newsletter - If you would like to sign up for my Fine Art America Newsletter (click this link and a window will open allowing you to sign up). Why sign up for the newsletter? Contests, discount codes on my artwork, maybe an excerpt from my book "Exploring the back roads of New England with Jeff Foliage"... Yes you heard me right... (Damn now I have to start writing it!)
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Jeff Foliage

My name is Jeff Folger,
but people call me Jeff Foliage.
I have several pages that I write blogs for such as:
My most popular blog is for Leaf peepers: Jeff
I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
Feel free to visit me on my blogs and see what life in New England is like.

I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.
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Fall foliage outlook for New England — 39 Comments

  1. Thank you, Jeff! In the years past when we have been there in mid-October, it always seemed like we were a bit late. 🙁 Unfortunately, we cannot change our dates this year – we are there for work at OMEGA Institute. We will hope for the best. Enjoy your coffee and a snack!! Your site is WELL WORTH it. 🙂

  2. Hello! Wonderful discussion! We will be in Rhode Island, NY and Conn the week of September 20. Do you think we will get any color? Last year we missed the leaves because of the rains. THANK YOU for your site!!

    • Well 20 Sept is way early for Connecticut and Rhode Island. They usually are peaking in mid-October. They will have very early color about then but just the very beginning of fall color. With that date you would want to be up on the Canadian border, I’m afraid…

  3. Hi Jeff, I can’t tell you how helpful your comments, FB page, etc have been in planning our trip in late September, early October. I guess my question is, in your opinion, will we be too early?? We plan on arriving in NYC on September 24 and driving through CT, MA,VT, NH,& ME. Would love to have some suggestions (highlights?). Thanks again, we are anxious to hear back. Keith & Michelle in Arkansas

    • You’re not too early once you leave NY and I would suggest a drive north on I-87 and either taking one of the ferries across lake Champlain or go to Alburg NY and then to St Albans Vt=T. From there I would head east by NE. into the Northeast Kingdom. Then across to NH and north of the White Mountains with places like Colebrook and Stark and Dixville Notch This is all before the 1st of Oct. The colors won’t be arriving in eastern ME or MA or CT or RI until after the 15th of Oct…

      So depending on how long you have for this trip you will spend much or it in VT, NH and a bit in Maine.
      NOTE! Just because I say those areas won’t be at peak or high color does not mean they won’t have any! There will be pockets of color from Sept on but the best color normally won’t arrive until later. Near Lexington I found a tree that was glorious red from top to bottom and every other tree in sight was 95% green… There wasn’t a green leaf on this red maple tree…

      So you can go one way or the other NY, CT, MA, VT, NH, ME, MA, RI CT, NY and then die happy….
      That rough route will take weeks to do it right… Why? Because at some point you have to get out of the car!

      If you don’t then you miss the purpose of the vacation. So plan to relax and drive only a little each day. See things you haven’t seen before. Clarks trading post and the trained bears… 🙂 There are the highland games near Loon mountain but that is the 180-20th of Sept… Look on my festivals page and see if anything sounds grand…
      In Sept I should start posting weekly events for each week… So that will also give you an idea of things going on.

      If you get home from your”vacation” needing a vacation to recover from your vacation… Remember I warned you… 🙂 Instead of trying to do it all, do it in smaller chunks…

  4. hi, this will be our first trip to New England- We are so excited. We are thinking of flying into Boston on the 9th of October, traveling to Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine. Do you think that will be a good time to see the foliage. Also we like small quaint towns, harbors, unique shops can you advise on some great places ? thanks

  5. I am planning on heading up through the northeastern states (I live in FL) to Prince Edward Island area this fall. I am trying to figure out the best time for peak colors in the Prince Edward Island vicinity. I was planning on being up in Canada in the first week of Oct but didn’t know if it would be too early or too late or just right. Any advise?

    • Hi Benjamin, This is a tough one. First that far north I would say early Sept… BUT! you are on the water so your feeling for early Oct may be spot on…
      Next you should have fall colors from mid Maine through to the border but as you transition north you may leave it again until you hit the island. I would call the Inn, B&B or lodging in the area and ask them. I’ve never been there so it is really hard for me to make a call on that one. Depending on when you return you may hit the fall colors in southern Maine to coastal MA and RI… depending…

  6. Hey Jeff, Thanks for the great info. What are your thoughts on Peak time in the Burlington, Vt area. Planning on being there around October 15th this year.

    • Should be good since they’re on the lake the color will turn later but… going away from the lake,you’ll lose the color fast. You can drive up Route 2 through the islands like north hero which will be the last to lose the color.
      After that you will have to head to MA

  7. Yes, you have a good radio voice.
    I made a mistake in the previous question. It’s Old Sturbridge Village not Stockbridge that I had question on color for mid October. I am pretty sure you picked up on that though. Just in case, I wanted to clarify.

  8. Jeff, do you think there could be some color at Old Stockbridge Village, Quabbin Reservoir, Saugus Ironworks, and at the Mount Auburn Cemetery around mid October? Thanks

    • Definitely from the 14th on, you should find color in all those areas. Mount Auburn is not one I photographed in and since it’s closer to Boston, it “may” be a little later. But I would think that you will find color there but it might still be mixed with some green, which is not a bad thing. I find that anything approaching 50% and above color is usually very pleasing to the eyes of most photographers. There is also bound to be a few trees that are early also… 🙂 Sort of a good with the bad blessing…

  9. Jeff, thanks for all this information. I am bringing a group of 56 Texans to Maine September 21-25, 2015 to learn about Maine’s agriculture. We will mainly stay in the areas around Portland, Freeport, Wiscasset, Auburn, Westbrook and Wells. We don’t experience much color change here in Texas so I am hoping we will get to view some up in your part of the country. I’ll watch your website and would appreciate any updated information you can give me.

  10. Hi, Jeff. Just came across your blog – very nice and informative. Plan to arrive in VT October 4 and stay in Waitsfield through the 9th. Hoping to do day trips from there and see some lovely foliage. Any thoughts or tips? Thanks, Kevin

    • tips? sure, thats what I’m here for… 20% for most meals is a safe bet… You didn’t know you got humor as well… 🙂
      First go to my locations by state and hit Vermont (and I’d hit NH as well). After looking over those two sections, I would think about Mr. Kaplans scenic guide to VT locations. He has passed away but the guide is still good to use. As he says inside the areas are constantly changing but in finding those you will be finding others… You can find a link to his page here.
      I think that will get you started…

  11. Heading to New England for the first time about October 1st thru the 16th. ….and road tripping from Boston up and around thru Vt NH and Maine..then down to Mass and RI. Is that a good time frame or wouldca week or so later be better?

    • Hi John, I don’t think you’re arriving too late at all. The only way you would be too late is if you wanted to be up in the White Mountains and points north like the Northeast Kingdom or Rangeley lake in Maine and points north there.
      What you should be looking for will be and itinerary that covers Massachusetts and Connecticut and Rhode Island these areas should be peak or at least high color during that time.
      In Connecticut you can look for the quiet corner which is the northeastern corner and places like Pomfret and Thompson Connecticut. Over in western Connecticut you can look at the Litchfield Hills. In Rhode Island you can look along the Eastern to Central areas For Color. Needless to say there are tons of places to explore and get great food in both states. In Massachusetts you can look at it all through the central areas and places like Sturbridge Village which is OSV. Org all the way over to Plymouth Plantation and all the little towns and central and southern mass. And don’t forget to if you have time, explore Salem because it will be prior to Halloween but it’ll still be very colorful and interesting.
      I hope that helps and if you have more questions leave another comment.

  12. Does anyone have a sense of how long ‘peak’ may last in the Berkshires this year (2015)? I’m debating a trip either Oct 14-17 or Oct 19-22; which would be a safer bet?

    • The Berkshires are tough because you have higher altitude and lower down to the pond or swampy areas. Those two facets mean certain areas (higher alt and swampy areas) will turn sooner than others… I would lean towards Oct 14-17 and if you travel further south of the Berkshires or I-90 then I would lean more towards the 19-22nd.

      I hope this helps…

  13. Always excited to see this post. It means to me fall is on the way. The signs of nature is pointing that fall may come earlier here in Kentucky as fall plants have started and I saw a wooly warm yesterday! Large black bands at the ends and small brown stripe in middle. Hope you’re doing well!

    • Well Elaine, now that one of the old Yankee forum group has stopped in to say hi, I am now. I see you post on Facebook but miss the foliage talk on the Yankee forum. (Those were really fun days) Jinkies stops in once in a while and I invited her to comment or add her answer to some of the comments. Its so hard to get conversations going…
      I could try to start a forum here again but it always seemed a little one sided… I’m glad to hear from you in our…Kentucky zone of friends… I had a cold for about two weeks but it’s almost gone, the down side is I gave it to Lisa… She is not amused. 🙂

    • Hi Elaine, I just went crazy and created a forum for fall foliage… Autumn Advice is the name and I sent a note to Jinkies and I’ll be letting Donna Frost know… Now if I could get a hold of cider donut… 🙂
      I thought it might bring back some of the “community” we used to have when Yankee had their foliage forum… Thoughts?

    • I’m sure you will have a great time either way. I forget where you said you were going but if you have questions just leave a comment and I will try to help…

  14. I look forward to your reports. I’m getting more excited by the day for my October 4 trip!

  15. Hi Jeff, We are still planning our trip to NH? upstate NY for mid Sept. Probably too early for Fall leaves but we really enjoy your updates and NH & VT are always beautiful in all seasons 🙂 Thanks teresa

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