New England summers are great, yes, but New England in autumn is really when the region shines. Though the 2018 fall foliage season may come a bit late this year, it’s set to bring “bright, bold colors,” according to the 2018 Yankee Magazine fall foliage forecast.
Each year, Yankee Magazine releases its New England fall foliage forecast to give locals and leaf peepers alike a glimpse of what’s to come.
In 2017, Jim Salge, a former meteorologist and the foliage reporter for Yankee Magazine, said he made his “most optimistic forecast” in a while. But don’t worry, he’s hopeful about this year’s fall foliage outlook, too.
“I’m definitely optimistic again this year, as the lead-up is on par with last year,” he told Metro. “The biggest issue is timing; it might happen later this year if it is warm this fall. Beyond that, no issues!”
Even though New England is known for its beautiful autumns, fall foliage isn’t the same from year to year, Salge explains.
“[The season] can start early or end late. They can range from predominantly yellow to overwhelmingly red. They can be strikingly vibrant or complex with muted tones,” he writes in Yankee Magazine. “Many of the factors that go into these differences are already determined, and some require good fall weather to fully reach peak potential.”
Salge looks as far back as the winter to see what factors in New England’s weather history will affect the fall foliage 2018 season. And this winter lasted pretty long: Worcester, Massachusetts had its snowiest spring ever, he noted.
This “stalled the trees from leafing out a few weeks later than normal; many remained bare well into May,” he wrote. Then, after the cool weather, the trees had to contend with spring rain, which can lead to fungi, as well as defoliation from caterpillars.
Despite those potential threads, New England leaves look healthy overall, according to Salge, but the quality of this year’s fall foliage still depends on the weather to come in early Autumn.
“The best foliage colors will emerge if early fall features abundant sunshine, limited but timely rainfall, and cool overnight temperatures,” per Yankee Magazine.
So when will New England fall foliage 2018 look best?
There’s no pinpointing peak New England fall foliage, per Salge, as fall foliage peaks across the region at different times.
But if you’re planning a leaf-peeping trip this year, don’t worry. The leaves will look great, you just might have to wait a bit to see them.
“We are fairly confident that the leaves will be bright, bold, and healthy when they begin to change in most areas, and a colorful, vibrant show should be on tap across most of New England this year,” Yankee Magazine predicts. “We also believe that the leaves, especially up north, will turn a bit later than historical averages.”
Read more on the New England fall foliage 2018 forecast here.