The US has begun to feel a bit of chill in the air and that means fall is upon us, when bright green leaves change into hues of orange, yellow and brown.
If you’re wondering when your city is going to be covered in beautiful fall foliage, then this interactive map predicting peaking viewing dates should help out.
The new season has already begun arriving in New England and in some parts of Washington, North Dakota and Montana.
By September 25, all of the northern states and some parts of the west coast will be covered in fall colors.
States in the Midwest such as Iowa, Kansas and Ohio will be completely enveloped in fall colors by October 9 but those in the south will have to wait until October 30 to see the first signs of the season.
Although by November 13, only southern states which include Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida will have foliage, while the rest of the country will be past its peak season.
The map, which can be viewed at SmokyMountains.com, was created by David Angotti.
By September 25, all of the northern states and some parts of the west coast will be covered in fall colors
States in the Midwest such as Iowa , Kansas and Ohio will be completely enveloped in fall colors by October 9.
Except for the southern states, all other parts of the country will be covered in fall colors.
The predictive map uses a complex algorithm that computes over 37,000 pieces of information in order to accurately forecast when fall peak will occur at the county-level.
And although it is not 100 percent accurate, it is a tool used by avid leaf peepers to plan their annual trips to see the spectacular colors around the nation.
Leaves can change their color from as early as mid-September all the way through early November. Usually, the second and third week of October are marked as the peak times but with it can vary depending on location and local weather conditions.
When fall leaves drop to the ground, they gradually break down and create a nutrient-rich layer on the forest floor. This layer acts like a sponge, soaking up water and providing food for trees and plants. It helps them grow healthy in the spring.
By the end of October, all of the US will be experiencing fall foliage and most northern states will be past their peak time
By November 13, only the southern states which includes Arkansas, Texas , Oklahoma and Florida will host foliage, while the rest of the country will be past its peak foliage season
So, while leaves falling in the fall protect trees during winter, they also help trees survive and thrive in the spring and summer. This natural cycle keeps trees healthy and sustainable year after year.
The green in the map highlights trees that have not yet changed color and brown is past peak viewing, but the two shades of red indicate ‘near peak’ and ‘peak.’
Compared to last year, fall foliage is set to arrive sooner in 2023. Most of the country was experiencing the season by October 17 in 2022 but by October 9 this year, a majority of states will be covered in fall colors.
Data has shown that climate change is the reason why fall has arrived early in the US and other parts of the world.
Fall foliage shows changing colors in Woodstock, New Hampshire, USA in October last year. Due to climate change, US will see the onset of fall earlier than the last year
The reason why climate change is bad for fall foliage has a bit to do with plant biology.
When days get shorter and and temperatures drop, the chlorophyll in leaves breaks down which causes it to lose its green color. The green gives way to the yellows, reds and oranges that make for dramatic autumn displays.
As the planet gets warmer, dry regions are expected to get drier and wet regions will receive more precipitation. This extreme weather caused trees stress in areas that receive bare minimum rainfall.
This stress can cause leaves to miss the fall color turn completely and simply die and fall off instead of following its natural process.
These trends impact the aesthetics of fall foliage, in addition to raising concerns about agriculture and water supplies and are expected to become more drastic in the future.