Rapidly changing weather paired with a hot dry summer could make Pennsylvania’s fall foliage season a little shorter and less vibrant, according to forecasters.
Brandon Buckingham, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, in State College, said the warm, dry summer may be the cause of leaves falling a bit quicker and getting brown a bit faster over the next few weeks.
“The past three months has averaged below average rain fall,” he said. “There could be a few more brown leaves and leaves dropping earlier than usual.”
Buckingham said it’s also tough to predict, and with the lay of the land in Pennsylvania, there will be plenty to see.
“It may be a little more dull than normal,” he said. “Last year we had too much rain and there were also some duller spots in areas.”
The foliage will come quick, he said.
“The upcoming weather for the next 8 to 10 days we have some potent cold fronts coming through,” he said. “That should start to kick off the trees into the transition.”
Buckingham said fall has arrived.
“We will see a considerable change in the temperatures,” he said. “There will be a cold front coming the next 10 days before we see any warmups and that should start to change the leaves quickly.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is offering tips and resources to help residents and visitors see the color changes across the state, according to officials.
Beginning Sept. 29, weekly fall foliage reports can be found online on the DCNR website, dcnr.pa.gov/.
The report will be updated every Thursday, according to officials. According to the department’s projections, the four Valley counties leaves will be in the starting to change phase next week and will shift to approaching best color phase the week of Oct. 14.
“Each year we are blessed with the opportunity to view some of the world’s most beautiful fall foliage here in the commonwealth,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “It is important to remember that Pennsylvania is a large state with more than 130 native tree species. This gives residents and tourists plentiful opportunities to see a wide array of colors, ensuring every autumn.”
Seeing those colors of the leaves while taking a drive to a fall festival is something residents should go out and do, according to officials.
“From the breathtaking shores of Lake Erie to the splendor of the southeast, our foliage season provides endless opportunities for those ‘wow’ moments,” Carrie Fischer Lepore, deputy secretary for Marketing, Tourism and Film for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, said. “Plus, one can pack up the car and venture to a great fall festival while taking in the dynamic colors along the way.”
Not only did the warm dry weather attempt to play spoiler to fall foliage, it also disrupted a small Christmas tree farm. Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm, in Milton, owner, Stan Kohl, said the replanting of some trees that were lost is already being planned.
“The ones we will cut will be fine for this year but we lost some we planted because of the weather and being so dry,” he said. “The roots aren’t established like mature trees are.”
Kohl said he will be fine for this year and will have to work harder next year when planting.
“We have stony ground here and usually it is a hindrance but when it’s dry out the stones actually help keep moisture in the ground. I knew with the dry weather we were going to lose trees, there were just no two ways about it.”