Fall Foliage Report for Virginia

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Last year a persistent soggy weather pattern aided by multiple tropical systems led to a muted and delayed display of colors. This year poses a different issue for fall colors.

A very dry and hot weather pattern over much of the summer will likely lead to a short season with muted colors. This summer’s drought hasn't helped with colors as many trees have been stressed. Because of this, leaves have changed prematurely and even have fallen already.

What’s needed for vibrant fall colors is sunny days and cool nights. The cooler weather recently has helped bring colors out and we are even beginning to see more rain, though that has little affect on colors at this point.

"What's happening right now to the trees is that they're being stressed out by no moisture," said Chris Thomson of the Virginia Department of Forestry. "They are just kind of giving up and dropping their leaves early. That means a less pretty autumn and more fuel for forest fires."

Green still remains the primary color of our landscape, even in higher elevations, but reds, yellows, and oranges are beginning to show up. Rainfall over the last couple of months does bring some variety in locations in terms of how much color is showing.

Typically the best fall colors occur from October 10-20 in the mountains. October 15-25 in Central Virginia, and October 20-31 in Eastern Virginia.

Let us know how the leaves are looking in your area. We will use data in our weekly fall foliage report. Complete the form below.

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