Fall foliage outlook: Peak color will be delayed this season across Delaware Valley

Action News meteorologists says the peak colors may come closer to Halloween or early November this year.

6abc Digital Staff Image
Friday, September 29, 2023
Fall foliage preview: Northeast is running behind schedule
The fall colors in the Northeast are running behind schedule due to a wet summer and warm start to September.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Attention leaf-peepers! It is not quite time to snap that fall foliage selfie.

According to our Action News meteorologists, the entire Northeast is running behind schedule by a week or two.

The area at the highest elevations in New England and northern Maine should be seeing peak conditions, but right now just moderate color is showing up in those regions.

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In the Delaware Valley, we had a very dry late spring with much of the area in drought conditions. This dry stretch put a stress on the trees early in the season.

After that, the summer turned wet and humid. The extra water in the tree's leaves dilutes the sugars, and since those sugars are responsible for making the anthocyanins (the reds and purples), that can lead to more muted and less vibrant colors.

The first half of September featured record warmth with a 7-day heat wave.

For the second half of the month, we've seen cooler temperatures, but also lots of rain.

To get the colors to start popping we need warm, dry and sunny days with crisp cool nights. We haven't seen much of that so far and our peak color will definitely be delayed.

For the heart of the Delaware Valley, this means peak may come closer to Halloween or early November for this year.