2015 Foliage Update: Late but Likely to be Spectacular

Leaves are changing color noticeably later this year. But when it arrives, conditions have set up for a potentially exceptional foliage display.

An unusually warm and dry September is largely responsible for both phenomena. First, a lack of cool to cold nights has not provided the temperature trigger for trees to begin changing color, hence the delayed start to the season.

As Laura Peterson, spokeswoman for the state Department of Tourism and Marketing, put it in a recent Boston Globe article, “We had two of the warmest weeks of September in a long time, and the leaves need a cold snap to signal the change in color.”

Second, ideal conditions for maximum fall colors are ample early season moisture, followed by long stretches of warm, sunny days with minimal rain later in the season, which is exactly what September has provided.

Perfect foliage isn't guaranteed, of course, especially if night-time temperatures abruptly plummet--early frosts can halt the development of fall colors in their tracks and can significantly reduce the brilliance of foliage in affected areas. But if the weather stays clear and the nights cool, this year's peak foliage may be exceptionally bright.

The delayed start is apparent in the foliage reports below from the Foliage Network--you can see how little color there is at the end September this year compared to the previous four.

“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.