The crisp weather this week was a clear sign that autumn has arrived and soon, the colorful palette that defines the season will be here too. Whether you’re planning a staycation or a trip upstate, I LOVE NY’s annual foliage map will show you where and when you can see the best autumnal colors. 

Fall is the most colorful season in New York. Photo: Phil O’Brien

The weekly reports are released every Wednesday afternoon through early November and reflect expected color conditions for the coming weekend. A network of passionate “leaf peepers” throughout the state contribute their observations which serve as the basis for the weekly updates. 

“We have the longest foliage season in the United States,” explains Ross D. Levi, executive director at NYS Division of Tourism and I LOVE NY told WABC. “So basically, any weekend between mid-September and mid-November, somewhere in New York State is at or near peak.”

The annual foliage map is warming up. Image: I LOVE NY

This week, most of the state is still just starting to show its “autumn brilliance.” The biggest changes are in the Adirondacks, where the foliage is close to near-peak, and in parts of the Catskills that are at the midpoint of change. 

NYC and Long Island are still in the green for the most part but we’ll see more transformation soon. Mid-peak conditions are expected in the five boroughs between the second and third weeks of October, slightly later than usual. The timing varies each year based on several factors, the most important of which are moisture and temperature. 

“Last year, we were coming out of a drought, and that muted some of the colors. It was a decent fall season, but could have been better,” WABC chief meteorologist Lee Goldberg said. “This year, we were soaked over the summer, which could have stressed out a lot of the trees, but we ended September with a pretty long dry stretch. And that should help — so brilliant color is a possibility, although the season may be a little late.”

The fall colors are coming. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Unfriendly weather conditions have impacted fall’s foliage display over the past few years and that’s only going to get worse as the climate continues to warm, Bloomberg reports. Warmer temperatures throughout September mean leaves are taking longer to turn. In areas that have faced dry summers or drought, trees may skip the transition altogether. 

For now at least, these effects are much worse in areas like the Pacific Northwest than in New York, so let’s get outside and celebrate the vibrancy of the season.

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