The northern end of Massanutten Mountain/Fort Valley between Front Royal and Strasburg, Virginia on October 15. (Brian Knight via Twitter)

The colors of fall are starting to strut their stuff locally, and fiery scenes are kicking into high gear across the furthest west and northwest parts of the region.

Near peak to peak color is rapidly approaching. It will sweep through over the next two to three weeks. But if you just can’t wait, you don’t need to go far to see autumn in all its glory.

The latest reporting from The Foliage Network tells the current tale.


Current foliage rating across the region as of October 16, 2014. (Foliage Network)

Overall, the map tracks nicely with the many excellent reports and photo submissions we’ve seen in the past few days. Keep in mind it’s likely a little broad brushed, particularly when it comes to areas with significant local elevation change.

Generally, the past peak area still resides over the highest points in western Maryland, West Virginia, and maybe some of the highest peaks of the Blue Ridge. True peak conditions remain sporadic, at best, to the east of the Appalachians.

The colors should be excellent this weekend in places like the Shenandoah Valley region, spots up near and northwest of Frederick, as well as other similar locales.

Here’s a look at places around the region with the highest color in the past week:


Blackwater Falls State Park, WV on October 10, 2014. (Nathan Jones via Flickr)

Skyline drive on the morning of October 13. (John Jack Photography via Flickr)

Clouds, hills and growing fall color around Linden, Va. on October 16. (Steve Gass via Flickr)

Even close in to the city, and within the city itself, color is getting good — at least in patches:


Washington, D.C. on October 12. (Joe Flood via Flickr)

Fall colors beginning to take hold in D.C. on October 16. (Ian Livingston)
Typical date ranges of peak colors. Note high elevations in these given regions will peak at the early side of the given ranges, or even a bit before. Typical date ranges of peak colors. Note high elevations in these given regions will peak at the early side of the given ranges, or even a bit before.

So far, foliage change appears to be about right on schedule across the region. If anything, perhaps a few days slow. That may be partly attributed to the warmer air of late. Temperatures don’t dictate the change, but they can speed or slow it on the margins and impact color intensity.

Saturday may be the pick of the the weekend for foliage viewing, especially early in the day before winds whip up behind a cold front. Sunday will certainly feel the part! Very cool 50s and a gusty breeze will have you toting a warm beverage or two on your leaf peeping sessions.

Both days should present plenty of sunshine.

Cool temperatures continuing into next week are likely to aid a quick onset of higher color in and around the immediate area. Get to snapping those camera shutters, and don’t forget to let us know what you see.

Prior updates: October 3 | October 10

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