WTOP’s fall foliage report

NBC Storm Team 4 Meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts is on fall foliage watch. Every week she will provide an update on the season’s colors.

Nov. 2

(Courtesy NBC Washington))

It looks like we are finally moving into peak season for leaf color here in the mid-Atlantic. While there is a significant amount of leaf drop on the ground, the colors are about as bold as we are going to see from now through next week. Some areas through western Maryland and the higher elevations of West Virginia and Eastern West Virginia are now past peak, but you will get a decent show if you are headed out to the Blue Ridge mountains.

October 2016 was the second-warmest since 1985, and featured areas that saw less than an inch of rain, despite some rains from Hurricane Matthew. So our foliage is not as bold as it has been in other years, but it’s still worth a day trip.



Oct. 20

(Courtesy NBC Washington)
(Courtesy NBC Washington)

After a very mild week, leaves are changing slowly, but we are finally getting some color out there! Colors will start to change rapidly once we enter next week. Most of our region is getting at least moderate color now, while areas through West Virginia are seeing high-to-peak color. That means 60 to 100 percent of leaves have changed.

While this weekend will feature sunshine, watch for winds. It might be a great time to get out there and check out the foliage west of D.C. and through the usual spots, however, winds are going to be howling on Saturday. Expect wind gusts up to 35 mph at times on Saturday and up to 25 mph at times on Sunday. Saturday temperatures will not make it out of the 50s, while Sunday, temperatures will warm up into the mid-60s.

The winds will not impact the leaf drop too much. Although it will be dry this weekend, it will be cold. The foliage peak usually comes by the fourth week of October, so next week may be the time to get out and see this fall phenomenon.

Oct. 11, 2016

Finally, we are getting some cooler nights — which means we are getting some color in our foliage! While color is low and peak bold colors will not show until late October/early November — we are starting to see some visible signs of autumn. If you are planning a weekend getaway to see some move vibrant color in leaves, head to the higher elevations in West Virginia where more moderate color is shining through.

Oct. 4, 2016

If you are headed to the Shenandoah Valley this week for some leaf-peeping, you may not be all that impressed. There’s still low color in the first week of October; however, that should rapidly change. Chilly upcoming nights will help to expedite the color-changing process, especially as we head into next week, in which daytime highs will stay in the 60s and overnight lows will fall into the 40s.

However, if you have your heart set on heading out to find some color this week, there is more than a 10 percent change in the higher elevations in Western Maryland, some portions of eastern West Virginia and heading down I-81 toward western North Carolina.

Sept. 26, 2016

Fall is finally bringing some color across some of the region. However, be prepared to get in your car to see it. You will have to travel to West Virginia and unload at the Allegheny Mountains in the Monongahela National Forest (part of the Appalachian mountain range) to see some slight color change. Leaves in that area are still on the low color end (about 11 percent to 30 percent changed). However, they are starting to transition, which is a great sign.

This week in the mid Atlantic will feature much cooler nights with temperatures in the 50s at times in the Shenandoah Valley. This is a necessity to get a jump-start on the color change. There is also plenty of rain in the forecast this week which will help to alleviate some drought conditions throughout the area and possibly lend to bolder colors. The D.C. area is still a good month away from peak leaf colors, so there’s still plenty of time to get out and enjoy the sights.

Sept. 16, 2016

Thursday Sept. 22 marks the first day of autumn, precisely at 10:21 a.m. Although it is starting to feel more like fall, the question is, when will it start to look more like fall? Generally, some changes in the leaves will be seen toward the end of September. Color changes will take place at the highest elevations and continue to work their way down to leaves that are closer to the Earth’s surface. Look for beautiful colors through October before peak color happens at the end of October into early November here in the WTOP listening area. Cooler nights are needed for the leaves to actually change, so keep that in the back of your mind.  Plan to take tours during October and I’ll keep you updated week to week.

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

Sign up