First signs of fall foliage begin, right on schedule

It’s almost theatrical how, without fail, the first signs of fall foliage begin to show their colors (no pun intended) within a few days of the calendar start of the Autumn season. With autumn set to begin this Saturday, September 22 2012, it should

Fall foliage color data, courtesy of The Foliage Network. Image and data valid as of September 19th, 2012.

be no surprise to anyone that the first signs of fall colors are appearing over parts of New England, Southeast New York, and Northern New Jersey. Now, it should be mentioned that these colors can typically take a few weeks to work their way down to the immediate suburbs of New York City, as well as Central New Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island. Yet, one can already observe hints of the impending explosion of natural color in the tips of trees or those exposed to more sun than others on a daily basis. Some will spend the next few weeks longing for one more warm, muggy summer night while others will be teeming with excitement as the colors fill the trees and warn of the impending winter. Our friends at the Foliage Network provide excellent map analysis of the progression of the leaf color and leaf drop through the Northeast United States. Their latest report, pictured in this post from September 19th 2012, shows Low color spreading throughout much of New England and even into the mountains of Northern New Jersey.

All of this is a lot to take in, but there’s even more interest to it! Despite a usually timely start, each season provides different foliage timing and patterns depending on the weather patterns and temperatures. For instance, comparing the report from September 19th 2012 to the report from September 17th, 2011 (just a two day difference) shows that we are way ahead of last years pace at this point. The “Low color” category foliage is hundreds of miles farther south and more widespread throughout New England. As the season gets going, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the foliage progression!

In addition, we’ve opened a Flickr Group to our readers and subscribers (yes, it’s free) for all to post their fall foliage pictures throughout the season. The group will remain open for the future, as well, hopefully serving as a central point for NYC weather and nature related photography. We can’t wait to see your best photos!