Foliage Season Winding Down, Still Strong in Spots
UPDATED November 10, 2011
UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Andrew Rosenthal
The end is near for the foliage season, as leaves drop off the trees across the northern tier. With the exception of locations along the Mid-Atlantic Coast, foliage has passed peak. The season is also winding down in the central U.S., where some strong colors are visible in Arkansas.
Most of the leaves have fallen off the trees across the Northeast and Midwest. Even on the Delmarva Peninsula, Maryland`s western shore and the Virginia Tidewater, leaves are past the point of brilliance and are still a dull yellow awaiting a good windstorm to bring them fluttering down. That said, with the recent warm and calm weather in the East, many of the leaves still remain on the trees, and the trees are actually quite photogenic. Those looking for a good leaf trip this weekend are urged to look to the Virginia and North Carolina Tidewater.
Interesting road trips could be made along U.S. Route 301 from Bowie, Md., to the Richmond, Va., area. This highway parallels the Interstate 95 corridor, but follows the rural environs of southern Maryland and eastern Virginia, travelling through some forested areas that remain covered in leaves. U.S. Route 17 from Fredericksburg to Newport News, Va., is also a prime area for this week`s best colors. This can be combined with Interstate 64 for jumping on and off the highways.
Other areas for strong colors remain in the Mid-South and Deep South. Some magnolia trees are holding onto their color in Mississippi and Alabama, although an ongoing drought has left much of the color without its typical luster. Also, look to the Ouachita Mountains of central and southern Arkansas, where aspens, firs and other trees are still golden.
Look to Interstate 22 from Memphis to Birmingham, Ala., as the best bet to travel through the best colors in the South. This highway, which follows the U.S. Route 78 corridor, has numerous jumping off points to use for leaf peeping. Additional strong colors are visible by making a side trip north to Huntsville, Ala., along Interstate 65 or east to the Atlanta area along Interstate 20. If you plan to make a road trip across Arkansas, look for U.S. Route 70 or 270, which cuts into Ouachita National Forest, and can bring you to higher terrain such as Mt. Ida, Ark.
The weather will be fairly benign for leaf peeping this Veterans Day weekend. Sunshine and mild temperatures will be the norm on Saturday, as temperatures climb into the 60s and lower 70s by the afternoon. Bring a heavy jacket for the morning, as the mercury will flirt with the freezing mark early in the day as far south as Washington, D.C. A few clouds and even a scattered shower will be in the forecast come Sunday in Arkansas, but the rest of the East will continue its sunny trend. Temperatures will once again be quite mild, with highs in the 60s and 70s.
As days are getting progressively shorter and cooler, a chemical reaction in the leaves leads to the color change. The trees ability to make chlorophyll, a pigment that keeps the leaves green, decreases and causes the leaves to become red, orange and purple. Click here
for more information on the science of fall foliage.
This is the last in the series of fall foliage reports for the 2011 season. We hope you have enjoyed these articles as much as we have enjoyed sharing your photographs. Even as the season winds down, please continue to share your foliage photos by clicking on the "Your Photo" link on this page. In addition, you can get the latest weather updates anytime on Twitter at WeatherBug.
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