While you’re taking in all the beauty, keep an eye peeled for errant blowing leaves!
How colors are progressing
After an eye-popping start to the foliage season, photos and reports suggest that the most vivid color is somewhat patchy. As the colors have changed, we’ve seen a fair amount of early leaf drop, perhaps because of dry conditions late in the summer and recent heavy rain.
Much of northern Maryland has seen peak color come and go, but not by far in spots. Lower elevations are bathed in the most color overall. The higher one goes, the more it starts to look like winter, with bare trees increasingly the norm.
Into central Maryland, reports from Montgomery County indicate near-peak color, especially in the hilly terrain in western areas.
Our region has a huge diversity of climates and microclimates and thus a large spread in foliage conditions. Across Southern Maryland, more moderate color is present, with peak a week or two away. Along the coast, there is still a lot of green.
Farther south, the Virginia Department of Forestry writes that “trees are sporting lots of orange, and related golden, copper, and rusty shades,” with peak color in the Piedmont.
The immediate D.C. area has a very long foliage season because of a large variety of trees. Some of the early turners, such as maples, have lost their luster and many of their leaves. Others such as oaks are just now starting to show color. Locations such as the Tidal Basin and Rock Creek Park should reach peak shortly if they haven’t already.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that peak and other classifications are at least somewhat subjective. Even past peak, there are often excellent views.
This past week was full of clouds, but that’s not necessarily bad for foliage photography. There were some gorgeous scenes to be seen …
The weather forecast
Other than a hiccup Sunday as a front passes, the weekend into next week offers classic fall conditions.
If you’re planning on taking advantage of Saturday’s bright weather, do plan on a cold start. Many spots west and northwest should be near freezing, with some frost a risk.
Despite all the Saturday sun, temperatures only rise to around 50 or so. That means 40s in the higher terrain to the west.
By Sunday, clouds are back, and there’s at least a risk of some showers after midday or so. Some recent weather modeling suggests it could be wetter than that over eastern parts of the area. Temperatures do rise to near or past 60 before the front passes.
Sunshine is back for a chilly Monday. Temperatures could struggle to reach 50 most places. As high pressure builds back into the region thereafter, mild conditions are likely through the remainder of the week and beyond.