Photographer and former meteorologist, Jim Salge uses his knowledge of weather, geography and climate to pinpoint the best dates for New England leaf-peeping as Yankee Magazine‘s foliage reporter.
According to Salge, 2017 is shaping up to be a near-perfect year for foliage fans. In fact, he predicts a particularly ‘‘strong and vibrant’’ display.
‘‘The setup looks good overall for New England’s fall foliage display this year. The forest appears generally healthy and leaf development has been normal. The upshot: In New England, normal fall colors are expected to be spectacular.’’
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For the first time in several years, the conditions are perfect for an extraordinary autumn. We’ve had a mild summer, adequate hydration – finally! – and the leaves are looking healthy.
‘‘It’s the most optimistic forecast I’ve had in a couple of years,’’ Salge said. ‘‘The biggest thing that can go wrong with foliage is a really wet couple of weeks leading up. We’ll really need that typical fall weather in New England — warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights — to make it pop. But we’ve had a great setup.’’
Yankee’s resident fall forecaster says that in order to anticipate the upcoming season, you have to look back over the previous year. The 2016 drought significantly limited the duration of the leaf season. Luckily, the winter rollercoaster with its early snowfall “recharged the soil and the aquifers and stabilized the overall drought situation.”
Last year’s showing was disappointing in some parts of eastern Massachusetts and Connecticut as a result of caterpillars gnawing away at the already drought-stricken leaves.
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But this year, conditions are looking up!
‘‘Since spring, the weather in New England has been fairly stable. There have been no long stretches of unbearable heat, nor have temperatures been below average. Rainfall has been adequate but not extreme,’’ Salge predicts.
Climatologists are expecting above-average autum temperatures and average precipitation. This warm, dry weather can bring out bright colors, but could also stall their onset. However, Salge points out that stressed trees tend to change earlier than healthy trees, and last year’s drought certainly caused some stress.
Overall, Salge expects rich, gorgeous colors on an average fall timeline – Nice!
H/T to NewEngland.com