The harvest moon made its appearance last week ushering in the autumnal equinox and the official first day of autumn on September 22.
This is the time of year where the landscape explodes with vibrant colors of red, yellow, and orange. What a perfect opportunity to camp in your RV and take in the full beauty of Mother Nature!
This year’s most vibrant display of foliage will occur across the mid-Atlantic, according to a recent AccuWeather.com report.
Meanwhile, surrounding regions may be hindered by flooding rain and unseasonable temperatures.
“Most important is really what happens at the end of September and beginning of October into the middle of October,” said Marc Abrams, professor of forest ecology and physiology at Penn State University.
“That’s really the crucial period.”
Abrams began observing how weather conditions affect fall foliage more than 25 years ago.
The AccuWeather.com 2013 Fall Forecast predicts near-normal temperatures and precipitation for the mid-Atlantic region, allowing bright, colorful leaves.
Typical peaks in fall foliage color across the U.S.
Meanwhile, those farther north may be somewhat disappointed. The Northeast is forecast to remain warmer than normal this fall.
Through September and October, temperatures will average two to three degrees above normal in upstate New York and New England, said Paul Pastelok Lead Long-Range Forecaster for AccuWeather.com.
Cold isn’t anticipated to return until sometime during November.
“That’s going to be problematic. It’s going to delay the peak coloration, and normally when we have warm falls the peak coloration is not the best,” Abrams said.
“Those cold temperatures are really, really important late September, early October.”
Cold temperatures will not be in short supply for the Midwest, where an early frost/freeze is forecast in October.
A hard freeze while leaves are still green will transition the leaf straight to brown, rather than allowing multiple colors to come out. It may also delay the peak of the season, Abrams said.
A frost, on the other hand, could be beneficial for the region.
“A frost helps to bring out the color. What happens is that the chlorophyll—which causes the green color of leaves—starts to break down. This basically exposes the other pigments like red and orange,” Abrams said.
Leaves in the Southeast will struggle to change color this year, as the region continues to be hammered by flooding rains into the fall.
A deluge will help the leaves stay green. A mild drought in late September and early October would have been more conducive, helping to move the leaves into senescence, Abrams said. Extreme drought can thwart fall colors, however, impacting the leaf size, vigor, and physiology. Much of the western half of the nation continues to be gripped by moderate to exceptional drought, particularly along the Rocky Mountains, the primary color-producing area of the West.
AccuWeather, established in 1962, is the World’s Weather Authority.
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Whether the weather be fine,
Whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather,
Whatever the whether,
Whether we like it or not