Start Planning for Fall Now With This Interactive Foliage Map
The official end of summer isn't until late September, but it’s never too early to get excited for foliage season. To see when the leaves outside your window will be at their most brilliant, check out this map for the 2017 season from SmokyMountains.com.
The tourism website put together the interactive visual by pulling historical weather data and forecasts for the upcoming months from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By using the slider at the bottom of the map, you can see when fall foliage is expected to peak across the contiguous United States.
On August 27, for example, most of the country is rendered in green, which means the leaves will not have started to change yet. Move into mid-September and the northern and central states show up with blotches of fall colors, with the lightest shade of yellow indicating minimal leaf change and deep red signaling peak foliage. By late October, most of the U.S. is brown, which means the leaves have passed their peak.
While the leaves of deciduous trees start to change hues at roughly the same time each year, the exact patterns vary based on factors like rain and temperature. Because the summer has been especially wet for much of the country, the trees are expected to transition sooner in the year.
"Due to the heavier precipitation throughout the summer months, this year's leaf model is predicting an earlier-than-typical peak fall,” data scientist and the map's creator Wes Melton said. The year will also continue to be warmer than average according to current projections, which means that leaf-gazers will be treated to a long-lasting display. "Other than the Pacific Northwest, we are expecting warmer-than-average fall temperatures during the September through November time period. These warmer temperatures are expected to prolong the color season,” Melton said.
Now that you know when exactly the trees will hit their peak, you need to make sure you’re around to see them. Here are some of the best spots in the U.S. to take in the seasonal show.