Fall foliage forecast
It’s January so it’s time for my 2017 fall foliage forecast. And while it’s not always right it will give you a start on planning your fall foliage vacation this autumn.
I will be the first to tell you, a lot can happen during the next 8-9 months so while my thoughts in this article are a good generalization of this coming autumn you will need to revisit over the spring/summer.
Those who make predictions are idiots
I saw a post by a gentleman last fall, who said that “anyone who professes to know what will the next autumn will be like, is an idiot..”. Ok, I guess I’m an idiot. I agree that many variables will happen between now and November. All of these variables, a dry spring, versus a wet spring and more drought versus less drought in summer, will affect the outcome.
I take all of these factors into consideration before I put them out there for you to read. 🙂 I also will never say that on 2 October on such and such route in [put your favorite state here] you will see peak foliage. I keep my forecasts more general, like, Is it going to be a good season for fall colors… read on dear reader…
To start the process, I go to the NOAA climate prediction website and the Yankee, Old Farmers Almanac website to see what they say. This year like most years, they don’t exactly agree. That makes my job SO much easier. 🙂
The scientists at NOAA have told me that their outlooks, that they post, are approximates, at best, until 1-3 months out. So my guesses are based on their guesses. This is why I call my forecast a WAG (Wild A$$ Guess).
2017 Official fall foliage forecast (WAG)
NOAA: As of January 22, the consensus is that it will be cool and rainy through February an March. Then it will start to warm up through the summer peaking in August and then start to cool down as we proceed into November. The rainy start to the year will taper off to average levels and then chance for above average rainfall will start to rise as we move into Sept through Oct.
OFA: The Old Farmers Almanac says a bit more rain from Feb through July and then average from August on. and they also say a cooler spring through October with May and Sept being a bit above normal.
My resulting opinion: Based on these two forecasts… (What am I supposed to do with this?)
Ok I guess you expect something here. I’m thinking we’re going to have a rainy and cool spring with a slow warm up into summer with less rain. As we move into autumn we’re going to cool back down (hopefully within historical norms) and average rainfall.
The danger points will be April to May. If we don’t have too many rain periods during this time, we won’t develop tar spot on the maple leaves which happens if we have too many continuous wet days. I’d rather have a warmer summer but balanced temps from May to August it will have a positive effect on the leaves.
The next danger point will be going into Sept and October. We want these two months to be dry and calm. Less rain will concentrate the sugars in the leaves giving us brighter colors. Sunny days gives up the brightest colors. Rainy/cloudy days or weeks will delay the colors from appearing and dull them down.
I think rain will be average for this time of year and the temps will only be a little above normal. In other words, This should be a great fall!
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I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
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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.