2013 Fall Foliage Forecast

The harvest moon made its appearance last week ushering in the autumnal equinox and the official first day of autumn on September 22.

2013 Fall foliage outlook (Source: AccuWeather.com)
2013 Fall foliage outlook (Source: AccuWeather.com)

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.

Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway (North Carolina and Tennessee) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway (North Carolina and Tennessee) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Details

AccuWeather, Inc.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

AccuWeather, established in 1962, is the World’s Weather Authority.

AccuWeather provides local forecasts for everywhere in the United States and over two million locations worldwide.

They also provide their products and services to more than 175,000 paying customers in media, business, government, and institutions.

AccuWeather headquarters in State College, Pennsylvania, is home to the greatest number of forecast meteorologists in one location anywhere in the world.

AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, Inc., an AccuWeather company, specializes in weather-risk management consulting and state-of-the-art weather forecasting and services to utility, transportation, manufacturing, educational, and governmental clients throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico

Worth Pondering…

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
—Anon

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Track the Weather

The skies were clear when you left home or RV Park, but a few hours later the skies over the Interstate turned dark and ominous.

AccuWeather's Road Trip Planner provides the weather forecast for your route so you can plan ahead. (Source: accuweather.com)
AccuWeather’s Road Trip Planner provides the weather forecast for your route so you can plan ahead. (Source: accuweather.com)

Suddenly, rain starts pouring down in buckets and you can hardly see. A flashing road sign instructs drivers to turn to the highway’s emergency radio station.

A severe thunderstorm warning, complete with quarter-sized hail and exceptionally high winds, is being issued for several counties in the area.

But you have no idea what county you’re in. Are you heading into the path of severe weather? Or is this cloud burst all that you’ll see?

Road Trip Planner

One way to help you plan ahead is the AccuWeather.com Road Trip Planner. Using directions by Google Maps, Road Trip Planner allows you to not only enter your start and end points to get detailed driving directions, you can also pick the time you are leaving to see hourly weather forecasts along your route.

Say you’re currently in Burlington, Vermont, and you are planning to drive your RV to Cape Cod.

You can go to the Road Trip Planner, select that you are leaving your current location at 9:30 a.m. and heading to a campground on Cape Cod. A list of directions will be generated, as well as a map that shows your route and the weather you can expect along the way.

It approximates where you should be in hourly intervals and predicts the weather and temperature for that area.

Website: accuweather.com

Earth Alerts: This disaster-watching program monitors online information related to severe, extreme, and violent weather and natural disasters in near real time, notifies you about alerts and updates, displays satellite data and imagery, and even lets you view the event in images and video.(Source: download.cnet.com)
Earth Alerts: This disaster-watching program monitors online information related to severe, extreme, and violent weather and natural disasters in near real time, notifies you about alerts and updates, displays satellite data and imagery, and even lets you view the event in images and video.(Source: download.cnet.com)

Earth Alerts

Earth Alerts is a free Windows-based application that allows you to monitor in near real-time a variety of natural hazard events that are occurring anywhere around the world. Alert notifications, reports, and imagery provide the user with a convenient way to view natural phenomenon as they occur, whether close to home or some far-flung corner of the globe.

Earth Alerts uses a variety of online resources provided by organizations such as the National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Smithsonian Institution (just to name a few).

Earth Alerts does more than just track weather-related phenomenon. Earth Alerts monitors multiple types of natural hazard events in a single application.

It keeps an eye out for earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods, wildfires, and landslides.

You can select specific natural hazards or save specific locations. There’s also a mapping tool for viewing developing weather patterns. You can get all this information in near real-time alerts, too.

You can set Earth Alerts to hide in the tool bar and give you audio or visual alerts when new hazards occur. You can even have Earth Alerts send text messages to your phone or email.

You can even give it a try before you install.

Website: earthalerts.manyjourneys.com

Google Crisis Map

The Google Crisis Map gives you the most recent information on a storm's path. (Source: crisislanding.appspot.com)
The Google Crisis Map gives you the most recent information on a storm’s path. (Source: crisislanding.appspot.com)

The Google Crisis Map gives you the most recent information on a storm’s path. There’s an interactive map and a database of all the recent alerts and warnings. You’ll know when it’s time to evacuate or if it’s best to stay put.

A collection of national and regional-scale layers related to weather, hazards, and emergency preparedness and response, mostly for the US.

Website: crisislanding.appspot.com

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing.

Please Note: This is Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

Part 1: Prepare for Stormy Weather with Quick Exit Plan

Worth Pondering…

On the fourteenth day of April in 1935
There struck the worst of dust storms that ever filled the sky…
From Oklahoma City to the Arizona Line
Dakota and Nebraska to the lazy Rio Grande
It fell across our city like a curtain of black rolled down,
We thought it was our judgment, we thought it was our doom…
—Woody Guthrie, from his song, The Great Dust Storm

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Thanksgiving Travel Weather

A Pacific storm train may bring the biggest travel problems for Thanksgiving to the Northwest, while another nor’easter will put travel in jeopardy for the holiday.

A nor’easter may form over the western Atlantic by Sunday, sending rain and wind into parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast through at least the middle of the week, AccuWeather.com reports.

There is potential that the nor’easter could strengthen and move farther inland into New England at midweek. In this scenario, there is some potential for a wintry mix or snow over the mountains of northern New England.

“How close to the coast the storm tracks will determine how unsettled the weather gets in the I-95 corridor to the Appalachians,” AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

Between the East and West coasts, fewer widespread weather-related travel delays are forecast.

AccuWeather’s region-by-region breakdown of how weather might impact Thanksgiving travel follows.

Northeast
There is the potential for a nor’easter to form off the Atlantic coast by early next week. It is still unclear whether the storm will shift out to sea or move northward up the Eastern Seaboard.

If the storm shifts out to sea, then there may be no impact to Thanksgiving travel. Partly to mostly sunny skies and seasonable temperatures would be expected in this scenario. At this time, AccuWeather meteorologists are leaning toward this forecast.

However, rain, low clouds and gusty winds could cause slow travel both on the ground and in the air from Washington, D.C., to Boston if the storm moves up the coast.

Southeast

2012 Thanksgiving weather forecast. (Source: accuweather.com)
2012 Thanksgiving weather forecast. (Source: accuweather.com)

With another potential nor’easter brewing off the coast by early next week, an onshore flow could deliver low clouds to eastern portions of the Carolinas to Florida on Monday and Tuesday.

The east coast of Florida may even be dealing with some showers, including Miami.

Meanwhile, the interior Southeast should remain dry through the beginning of the week.

Another storm will move from west to east across the South through midweek, spreading showers and thunderstorms across the region. The showers may target the lower Mississippi Valley on Tuesday before shifting east across the Tennessee Valley and portions of the Deep South on the biggest travel day of the year, Wednesday.

Locally torrential downpours may slow motorists traveling across portions of the I-10, I-20 and I-40 corridors on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Midwest
For the most part, there are not too many weather-related travel problems anticipated across the Midwest Thanksgiving week. Generally dry and seasonable weather is in store for the Dakotas through the Great Lakes.

However, a few showers may pass quickly through, from the Dakotas and Minnesota on Monday to the Great Lakes on Tuesday.

Rockies/Plains
Much of the Rockies and the Plains will be dominated by dry weather under the influence of high pressure. Very few weather-related travel issues are predicted.

The one exception may be a moist flow from the Gulf that could trigger a few showers across Texas and the southern Plains.

West
The Northwest is likely to turn out to be the stormiest part of the nation for Thanksgiving travel. Significant travel problems could result low-elevation rain, mountain snow, and wind.

Seattle to Portland are forecast to be soaked by heavy rain through the first half of next week. High winds will drive the rain sideways at times, possibly making it hard for motorists to see while driving along the I-5 corridor.

Snow levels will drop as low as major mountain passes, such as Snoqualmie along I-90 in Washington, by Tuesday and Wednesday. Motorists traveling for Thanksgiving can run into slippery and hazardous travel.

At times, the rain will reach southward into northern California. Wet weather is most likely to disrupt travel in San Francisco on Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday, there is potential that drying will occur in San Francisco.

Farther south, dry and mild weather is in store for Southern California and the interior Southwest.

Details

AccuWeather

AccuWeather, established in 1962, is the World’s Weather Authority.

AccuWeather provides local forecasts for everywhere in the United States and over two million locations worldwide.

Headquarters for AccuWeather is State College, Pennsylvania, home to the greatest number of forecast meteorologists in one location anywhere in the world.

Website: accuweather.com

Worth Pondering…

Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.
—Mark Twain

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Be Prepared with Road Trip Planner

You and your family are packed into your recreational vehicle, heading out of town for a much-needed vacation to kick off the summer.

Heavy rain severely diminishes visibility on the road. Photo courtesy of RozSheffield (who was a passenger, not the driver when taking this photo)

The skies were clear when you left home, but several hours out the skies turn dark and ominous. Suddenly, rain pours down in buckets and you can hardly see.

A flashing road sign instructs drivers to turn to the highway’s emergency radio station. A severe thunderstorm warning, complete with quarter-sized hail and exceptionally high winds, is being issued for several local counties.

But you have no idea what county you’re in. Are you heading directly into the path of severe weather? Have tornado watches or warnings been issued?

When planning for a road trip, people often think to check the weather at their destination so they know which clothes to pack and the type of activities to prepare for. But how many people think to track the weather along their route?

Some RVers may look at a national summary forecast to get a gist of their route’s weather, but they may not have information on the specifics. Who knows what counties they’ll be going through, what the weather will be like, and when or where they can stop if the weather becomes too severe?

One useful tool to assist the traveler in planning ahead is the AccuWeather.com Road Trip Planner.

Using directions by Google Maps, Road Trip Planner allows you to not only enter your start and end points to get detailed driving directions; you can also input the time you plan to leave to see hourly weather forecasts along your route.

In the image below you live in Burlington (Vermont) and plan to take your family on a vacation to Cape Cod. Using Road Trip Planner, you select that you are leaving your address at 9:00 a.m. and heading to a specific location.

AccuWeather Road Trip Planner provides the weather forecast for your route so you can plan ahead.

A list of directions will be generated, as well as a map that shows your route and the weather you can expect along the way. It approximates where you should be in hourly intervals and gives you the weather and temperature for that area.

If you were to see that you should be near the Methuen (Massachusetts) area around 2:00 p.m., and that they are expecting rain, you could research what counties you’ll be passing through so you can understand emergency warnings. You’d know to keep your umbrella easily accessible in the cockpit area.

You could also look for a place where you can stop temporarily in case the rain reduces your visibility so that you no longer feel safe on the road. You could look up the town on AccuWeather.com to see if a warning for flash flooding or severe weather is posted.

While you’re on the road it is crucial that you pay attention to all lights and signs.

Keep your radio on and tuned to the weather channel. Ensure that you heed all watches and warnings.

“Watches, like severe thunderstorm watches and tornado watches, which are two of the most common types, are issued when weather conditions are conducive for the event to occur,” said AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Mike Pigott.

A “tornado watch,” for example, includes the “large hail and damaging wind threats, as well as the possibility of multiple tornadoes,” according to NOAA National Weather Service.

Image courtesy AccuWeather

“Warnings are different. A warning is issued when the weather event is happening now,” Pigott said.

“In terms of flooding, for instance, a flood warning means a river has spilled over or flash flooding is occurring.”

Your RV or car is NOT a safe place to be if a flash flood or a tornado is coming through the area, so if the weather is turning severe find a secure place to stop and wait out the worst of the storm.

Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle so you don’t end up stranded without the proper supplies.

By taking the time to prepare before you hit the road, you could save yourself hours of aggravation during your trip.

In poor visibility, drive slowly and put on your hazard lights. It’s always better to be late to your destination than to get in an accident and not arrive at all.

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Worth Pondering…

You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.
—Yogi Berra

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