Fall colors west of DC found on satellite

A burst or two of red, orange and gold are now showing up around the D.C. area, but the true fall foliage is just 150 miles west of Capital early this week.

In fact, the color is so vibrant, it can be seen from space.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) scans for clouds 22,300 miles above the Earth’s surface; even at that distance satellite imaging is powerful enough to provide a high level of detail. It’s detecting the rapid expansion of fall colors in the western suburbs and beyond.

Satellite imagery shows bursts of fall foliage west of D.C. (Courtesy GOES)

The visible satellite imagery has the best resolution; it’s able to spot rapidly developing cumulonimbus clouds along the mountain ridges on a summer afternoon that often lead to thunderstorms. Just after sunrise, it’s a great tool to spot the intricate fog patterns in the valleys west of Washington.

On Monday, under crystal clear skies, it even detected the vibrant foliage west of Washington. The circled area shows different colors other than the standard green across the rest of the image. This signifies the satellite is able to detect the changing fall colors.

A report on the fall foliage outlook in the D.C. area. (Courtesy TheFoliageReport)

The latest Mid-Atlantic fall foliage report further verifies the fall colors are near peak. West of Interstate 81 will be a great detour for folks who want to experience the rich colors Mother Nature has to offer.

The season is almost at its peak early this week and this weekend will likely be the best showcase of color before the leaves come down for the season.

The Blue Ridge just west of D.C. is also seeing vibrant color emerging, as indicated by satellite imagery. Next weekend, Oct. 22-23, will likely be the peak of the fall foliage season for Skyline Drive and the Braddock Heights/Middletown area.

Enjoy the spectacular colors while they last before winter settles in.

Chad Merrill

Chad Merrill is a meteorologist and digital weather content producer for WTOP. Prior to joining WTOP, Chad was a meteorologist in the private industry and television. He loves to share his passion with listeners and readers and is eager to hear from anyone who has any weather questions!

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up