Fall foliage forecast: ‘Very good’ season in store for Northeast leaf peepers

After last winter and spring brought snowfall and bouts of wet weather, conditions are prime for vibrant foliage across the northeastern United States, experts say.

“Trees have responded well [to the moisture] and look promising for a very good fall foliage season,” AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

However, weather conditions heading into September will play an important role in the outcome this fall.

“We do not want a wet and very warm September. That would spoil some of the colors. In addition, if drought conditions developed in August and lasted into September, then trees would lose their leaves quickly,” Pastelok said.

Though there have been some dry spots across the Northeast this summer, conditions have not been serious enough to spoil the show.

The forecast for the remainder of September calls for normal to slightly below-normal rainfall, which is unlikely to have a negative impact on the leaves.

The greatest threat to vibrancy across the region is warm weather.

According to Michael Day, associate research professor for Physiological Ecology at the University of Maine, a cold snap is what the Northeast needs for especially bright colors to develop.

The 2017 AccuWeather fall forecast calls for occasional warm spells, which could put a damper on the vibrancy of colors in some areas. But according to Pastelok, it won't majorly impact the display.

“All in all, the Northeast is looking great for foliage,” he said.

Areas that may struggle this season include the southern Appalachians into the western Carolinas where wet weather has dominated the summer.

“It won’t be bad farther south, just not as good as in the Northeast,” Pastelok said.