2020 fall foliage: What to expect this year in the Northeast

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Thursday, September 10, 2020
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As summer transitions to fall and leaves begin to turn color, fall foliage in the Northeast is often a unique experience, bringing vibrant hues of brown, red and gold throughout the New England region. Here's what to know about the 2020 fall foliage.

Fall foliage in the Northeastern United States is often a unique experience, bringing vibrant hues of brown, red and gold throughout the region.

"It's a combination of our weather and our climate," landscape photographer Jim Salge told AccuWeather. "We have a great climate for autumn weather where we have really nice, crisp cool, nights and clear, warm days. It brings out the best colors."

Most of the Northeast will see peak fall colors during the month of October. A wide swath of the area from northern Virginia and Western Virginia and even eastern Ohio up through coastal parts of Maine can expect a peak between Oct. 15 and 22. More mountainous inland regions in upstate New York, New Hampshire and Vermont are looking at a peak between Oct. 8 and 15, and those farther south and west can expect a peak anywhere between Oct. 22 and Nov. 5.

"What we're expecting to see is what we see every year, which is extremely nice color in some areas and in some areas, of course, not as good," forest pathologist Aaron Bergdahl told AccuWeather.

Factors impacting the fall foliage include weather from the previous season and how soon colder temperatures settle in.

"We tend to see earlier coloration when there's been a stressful summer," Bergdahl said, adding that drought can bring colors earlier. "Despite the weather, I think the fall foliage is going to be excellent this year."

Added Salge: "If the cold weather comes in early, we're going to have a really short, punctuated, dry season, but it should be bright. If the cold weather takes some time to get in, we might see a little bit more browning before it actually comes in."

Some upper New England states are already starting to see the leaves turn as peak foliage is around the corner.