The weird fall foliage season of 2018 is now into its grand finale. If your location is not quite at peak yet, you will be there over the next week.
The season started off extremely slowly — and it was generally subpar in the highest terrain well to the west — but we have managed to eke out good-quality color.
Relatively persistent cool air over the past several weeks almost allowed areas east of the mountains to catch up to normal, as far as when the peak occurs. In and around the city, we ended up about a week late, and Veterans Day weekend is typically a very colorful time, as it will be this year.
The Nov. 8 update from the Fall Foliage Network shows high color to peak conditions across the region. It notes that wind has brought down most of the leaves in the highest elevations to our west, where peak has passed, and it is beginning to look like winter.
Virginia’s Department of Forestry reports that “many mountain areas below 3,000 feet are at peak color this weekend, including much of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah Valley." Additionally, it writes, the "Piedmont also offers colorful viewing this weekend.”
The latest information out of Maryland reminds us declaring peak can be as much art as science.
While the Foliage Network has an amazing long-term service that covers a huge area, local groups tend to have more on-the-ground details and specifics. For instance, Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources has the immediate area fully in peak. Among others, they share a report from state forester Brian Stupak that states, "[w]e are in peak colors in Calvert and Prince George’s counties.”
Thanks to the copious rains of late, the slow start and freezes outside the urban corridor in recent weeks, color coverage has remained patchier than typical in spots. In others, there has arguably been more of an overlap of colors across tree types than in some years. Where there is color — and it is everywhere locally at this time — it has largely been vibrant.
Like last week, we are looking at a storm system passing through the region as we drift into the weekend. As we get deeper into the seasons, leaves will become more fragile and prone to falling. Rain and wind over the next day or so is likely to bring many down.
Otherwise, the weekend is looking like a good one for leaf peeping in our area. Clouds will be out by early Saturday, and it will be sunny through the long weekend, with Veterans Day on Monday.
Leaves will still be flying Saturday as a gusty breeze out of the northwest blows through behind tonight’s storm system. High temperatures will be in the 40s. Following a widespread hard freeze Saturday night, Sunday will offer more sunshine and calmer winds. Highs should reach the mid-40s to near 50. On Monday, clouds might increase with time, but it will be tranquil as highs rise to about 50 degrees.
Here are some of the prettier scenes that have crossed our Twitter feed in recent days.
Keep track of changes in Maryland (or 1-800-LEAVES1), Virginia and West Virginia yourself! And this fall, please share your fall foliage photos with us on Twitter and Facebook, and in our Flickr group.