For leaf peepers interested in getting a good look at fall foliage, the time is now.
Variations in weather mean the length, intensity and timing of fall foliage season is different every year.
In 2013, ample summertime rains, sunny fall days and cool nights mean a very strong year for foliage, according to Paul Catanzaro, who teaches forest ecology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
“In general, I think the conditions for fall foliage have been fantastic,” Catanzaro says.
Coinciding this year with Columbus Day weekend, Catanzaro says the region has already moved into a period of peak color that typically lasts about two weeks.
But even for the seasoned leaf-peeper, changes in topography and climate can make for unpredictable viewing. Nature photographer Paul Rezendes of Athol says the variations make his job difficult.
“This is something we do every year but we still struggle to try and find out where the foliage is happening the best,” says Rezendes. “Because it really is not the best in the same place every year.”
And Paul Catanzaro says despite upbeat predictions, threats of particularly heavy rains or strong winds can bring foliage season to a premature halt.
Photo, via Flickr, from Brian Gudzevich.