(NEXSTAR) – Autumn is clearly upon us. Labor Day has passed, it’s all back to pumpkin spice, and we’re losing the daylight. The only shoe left to drop is the cards.
For some, the leaves may have already begun to change color. For others, it won’t be long until the trees burn and turn red, yellow, orange and brown.
In just a few weeks, some parts of the country will see peak fall colors, according to a new forecast map.
SmokyMountains.com, a travel brand dedicated to promoting the Smoky Mountain region, produces a foliage map each year, showing when areas in the United States will approach, reach and exceed peak color. They use historical temperature and precipitation data, forecast temperature and precipitation, known tree species found in the area, and user-reported information to develop their fall foliage forecasts. Although it may not be completely accurate, it does provide insight into when fall colors will reach their peak.
As of September 7, only a few areas, primarily in the northern United States, had seen the foliage change. This is expected to change beginning the week of September 11 when the majority of New England states and Michigan begin to see the leaves change.
The majority of trees in the U.S. won’t reach or near their peak until mid-October, according to a SmokyMountains.com analysis.
You can see the interactive map below, courtesy of SmokyMountains.com.
There are many factors that can influence when leaves change color. To a large extent, it comes down to day length, Brad Hutnick, a forest ecologist/silviculture expert with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, told Nexstar.
We’ve been slowly losing daylight since the summer solstice in mid-June, and this will become more noticeable as we move through September. Our trees are adjusted to this lack of light and will begin to decline throughout the year.
“A lot of times, when we see leaves on trees, that tree is functionally shut down for the year, and those leaves are basically dying,” Hutnick says. By late September, many trees will have completely closed.
Enjoy the foliage while you can – By late October and early November, fall foliage will have past its peak in most areas of the country.
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(tags for translation)NMW