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Oct 8, 2015 5:36 PM

Joe Knows: Columbus Day Weekend a peak for NH's fall foliage


CONCORD - This Columbus Day weekend is one of the most popular times for people to get out enjoy the fall colors which are exploding all around us.

The Weather has a huge impact on the foliage season. Temperature, Amount of sunlight, wind and soil moisture greatly influence the quality of the foliage season.

It dictates the timing of the foliage, the intensity and type of colors seen, and the duration of time the leaves will remain on the tree. What we don't want is strong winds, heavy rain or early frosts which may cause the leaves to be lost before they develop their full color potential.

As the nights get longer and colder, chlorophyll production in the leaves stops. The green colors fade and allows the yellow and orange, and red pigments in the leaves to become visible. The perfect weather for development of the brightest fall colors is a growing season with ample rainfall that is followed by dry, sunny mild autumn days and cool but frostless nights.

However, if daytime temperatures are too warm for a relatively long period of time in the fall, the colors may be less intense, and appear dull. The foliage season may start slow and also last one to two weeks longer. That is exactly what is happening this year! After a very dry August, and one of the warmest Septembers on record...Foliage is running about two weeks behind schedule and colors are appearing a bit muted is spots.

But there will be plenty of color to enjoy this weekend and the weather will be perfect! The fall foliage forecast shows High to peak color is in most mountainous terrain and valleys. Moderate color is already in place across most of the state of New Hampshire. Happy Leaf Peeping!

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