The Annual Fall Foliage Color Thread
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PhysicsMan
August 17, 2004
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
WVA 8/16/04:

Between last Thursday and yesterday, Monday (8/16), the trees at Timberline and Canaan V ski areas, as well as those in the Dolly Sods wilderness area seemed to go from totally green to several trees per mile of road / jeep trail that were showing significant color.

This can only mean one thing: WINTER IS COMING!!!

Tom / PM
warren
August 17, 2004
Member since 07/31/2003
485 posts
Bring it on!!
-Warren-
snowcone
August 17, 2004
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
Isn't it a tad early for fall colors? I thought the trees didn't start change around here until well into September. Maybe winter will come early this year ... [on knees praying to snow god] ... it sure would be nice to be able to have decent skiing conditions over Turkey-day weekend!
PhysicsMan
August 17, 2004
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
Snowcone - The bottom of Canaan V is at something like 3000 ft and the top of the Sods is at nearly 4000 ft, so at 3 or 4 degree F drop per thousand feet, the temps out there are roughly 10+ degrees cooler, and fall comes on earlier.

BTW, The bird banders have set up their mist nets this past weekend and they caught a record number of songbirds on the first day of operation, so it's officially fall as far as they are concerned.

Tom / PM
bawalker
August 17, 2004
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
Does anyone have any pictures of this??

It's kind of neat where I live here in Wardensville. I get to see this progression take place each fall and spring. In the fall Canaan Valley starts to get leaves turning colors sometime in mid-late August. Harmon is a week or so behind CV with areas like Petersburg and Moorefield having their colors change around the first to second week of September. Around the end of September all of Hardy County has trees changing over but if you goto places like Winchester, Leesburg, etc. It's just as green as can be.

I'm just hoping that since we had a VERY mild summer and having temps in the 50's last week at the fair that this signals at least one more massively cold and deep freezing winter with lots of snow. At least before another El Nino hits again.
JohnL
August 17, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

Isn't it a tad early for fall colors? I thought the trees didn't start change around here until well into September.




I have a Dogwood tree in my front yard (Annandale) whose leaves start turning red in mid-August, regardless of the type of summer we've had. I've always thought that was pretty strange.
rmcva
August 17, 2004
Member since 01/28/2004
187 posts
I was there over the weekend and the leaves have started to change. Even saw a few bright orange colors.
shearer519
August 18, 2004
Member since 07/12/2004
149 posts
I was cutting the grass the other day here in Pittsburgh and I noticed our leaves are starting to change also
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
August 18, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I found some more evidence of an early fall in the highlands of WV on the WV Birding forum:

From: WV-BIRD@LIST.AUDUBON.ORG


There is no doubt that fall is on the way. As one drives along one
sees Sun Flowers, Golden Rods, Joe-Pye-weed, and New York Ironweed.
Driving on Route 250 to Elkins, the leaves are turning on top of Cheat.
Also on Route 28 to Greenbank the same is taking place.
With the full leaves it should be a beautiful color fall. However,
we had this last year and the color was disappointing. Not only that
but in one twenty-four hour period all the leaves fell. Perhaps it was
due to the amount of rain we had. We were in a drought the year before
and the color was beautiful. I know that leaves have a homeostatic
mechanism for regulating water but wonder if the amount of water we are
having overpowers it. Does this amount of water dilute the chemical
processes of pigment formation and, like grapes where dry conditions
concentrate the sugars, do dry conditions concentrate the pigments?
For the most part, the rivers have been low. This is surprising to
me considering the amount of rain that we have had. Someone said that
the "woods are full and this is holding the water."
I thought birding had slowed down but think that it is Ruth and I
who have slowed down. Sitting on our back porch this past week we saw a
Great Blue Heron through the fog flying up the East Fork of the
Greenbrier. This was a beautiful sight and wished I would have been an artist
in order to capture this scene. We see a Green Heron fly up stream in
the morning and back in the evening. We also were visited by a male
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Brown Thrasher, and Pine Siskin. We got a new
yard bird when a male Baltimore Oriole flew out of one of our cherry
trees. We always have lots of House Finches but have had several Purple
Finches as well. We just need to shake it off and get out for more
birding.
The Old Pike is open and the Durbin Rocket RR runs.

Ben and Ruth Poscover
Durbin WV
Roger Z
August 19, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Further south, the huckleberry bushes on Mount Rogers near the NC border are deep purple right now. Also saw a few other birches and maples changing yellow and orange on the edges on Monday and Tuesday above 4500 feet there (Aug 16 and 17).

I'm not sure whether huckleberry bushes turn early or not-- there seemed to be a strong correlation between leaf color and the ripeness of the berries (purple leaves = great tasty sweet berries, green leaves = still sour and small berries, brown leaves = overripened and dying berries)-- but the other leaves were definitely early. I think there was some near frost weather last week in the highlands that has confused the trees, but don't underestimate sickness either.

But this is also the time of year when trees that are sick, dying, or stressed in other ways start giving up the ghost for the year. Also trees that live near highly acidic water will start to turn-- watch the swamp maples in Canaan Valley. None of these are early fall indiciators. That dogwood changing in Annandale could be not feeling too well due to air quality or roots or what not.

Another thing to remember is that one of the main changers of leaf color is deteriorating sunlight: shorter days. Whether it's cold or not, the days are just as long as if it was 100 degrees out. Hence the reason that most leaves are still green even at 3200 feet as late as Oct 1 (which I disappointingly discovered last year). So... is there some early fall colors due to the cold? Most likely. But remember there are other normal things going on that are mixed in too.
jonjon
August 20, 2004
Member since 04/2/2004
70 posts
The early colors this year in the Canaan Valley/Davis area are a bit more intense than usual for this time of year, due to the extended cool summer, however not too unusual from what the locals tell me. The maple trees are most susceptible to the early cold, and even as early as late June when we had back to back nights with a low temperature of 35 degrees, the leaves in the cool inversion zones were showing a September-like yellow hue. With many nights in the 40s in July a lot of these leaves remained that color through the month. And now, in August, with 10 nights already in the 40s and a low of 38 on the 6th, the leaves are really feeling the stress, especially, as I said, with the maples. I'm concerned that this may translate into a less than spectacular foliage this year, but I'm no expert as to what conditions create the best colors. All I know is that its weird having your heat come on in July and August. So far the high temperature for Davis this summer has been 81 degrees -- very unusual even for these elevations! Reading Johnfmh's post on the snow outlook for this coming winter, I'd have to say that if the pattern doesn't change, it looks accurate. Think snow, and who knows, it could be here sooner than we think.
andy
August 22, 2004
Member since 03/6/2004
175 posts
It went down as low as the mid 40's in parts of WV last nite..How long can this cool weather trend hold out? We have had 2 great winters in a row..anyone know the last time we had 3 good ones in a row? Mid 40's in august sounds cold,but i can remember camping out at 3000' just south of canaan vly in early aug & it went down to the upper 30's BRRRR. I'd gladly piss off my palm trees down here in se NC by rooting on another artic blasted winter!Looks like leaf peeping will be a month early this year
snowcone
August 22, 2004
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
Johnfmh post link indicating a cold snowy winter for MA is in direct contradiction to the normal results of an El Nino .. of course I am rooting for Johnfmh's point of view.

Does anyone have links to other winter weather analysis sites such as skiingweatherman.com and wxrisk.com? Neither of those sites has yet posted any predictions on conditions for the coming winter. It might be interesting to compare all the various sites and do our own predictions.

Be something to do. My issue of Ski has been read .. every line, small print, all ads ... Can you tell I'm ready for winter?

Also .. I have been thinking of getting one of those Skiers Advantage machines. My sister has one and they live on that thing in the winter. She says it helps her .. anyone else got any input? I would like to get some additional opinions before I lay out all that cash.
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