fall_leaf_color_2013How vibrant will the leaves be in fall 2013? This year, it seems the folks aren’t quite sure what to predict. Here’s what wunderground has to say:

The persistent rainy pattern in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Southeast this year has some wondering if fall foliage will be a washout.

“If the weather is rainy and cloudy and warm it’s going to be a duller color season,” said Kathy Matthews, associate professor of botany with Western Carolina University. “If it’s sunny and dry with temperatures falling, then that portends a brilliant fall color season.”

Matthews tracks fall foliage in the Appalachians each autumn. She says September’s weather is the key to the foliage forecast.

“The perfect conditions for brilliant foliage are bright sunny days in September before the temperatures start to fall, so the trees can produce a lot of sugars,” said Matthews. “Those sugars in the leaves are what will produce the red pigments in the fall.”

Marek Rzonca with The Foliage Network, which tracks foliage in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and the upper Midwest, agrees that when it comes to foliage forecasting it’s all about the future, not the past.

“Weather in September and October will have the biggest influence on the foliage season,” said Rzonca.

So far, we’ve had a pretty dry September. Guess we’ll see. Meantime, check out the above graphic from weather guy Brad Panovich, chief meteorologist at WCNC-TV. His graphic shows that the peak color around Asheville will arrive right on time – mid October.

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