Accuweather releases fall foliage forecast for Northeast; shows potential for vibrant color

Connecticut and the Northeast become a patchwork quilt of color in the fall as the leaves on trees change from green to bright shades of red, yellow and orange. This year, those same colors are expected, but not exactly at the time they should arrive. 

According to Accuweather’s 2021 fall foliage forecast, the Northeast can expect "vibrant displays" this season, even with some areas seeing "more impressive colors." However, AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok stated in a release that the leaves in the region might not change on their typical schedule. The amounts of rain accumulated over the late summer months might also produce mixed results in terms of the brightness of leaf color depending on location.

If September stays drier than the previous few months, the release stated that there could be "excellent conditions" in the southern New England area to see vibrant fall foliage. However, such conditions might be a "long shot," according to the foliage forecast, thanks to the "the record-setting rain that Ida unloaded over Pennsylvania, New Jersey and southern New England around the start of September after the second half of summer brought with it well above-normal rainfall."

And if the high volume of rain Connecticut's received over the past several months is any indication, these bold color predictions might hit a roadblock, according to the Accuweather forecast. 

"If a windy tropical system were to hit the region right around the time when the foliage is expected to reach its peak," Pastelok warned, "leaves could be blown off the trees before residents and travelers have a chance to soak in the colorful scenery."

RELATED: Here's when you can expect fall foliage in Connecticut this year

Will Healey, Media Relations Manager at Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, had a similar prediction in August. Healey said that leaves would be staying green longer this year due to a spike in average temperatures as well as the plentiful rainfall. Healey told Hearst Connecticut that foliage in Connecticut will once again peak around mid-to-late October.

"Last year was a bad drought year and this year we’ve had quite a bit of rainfall that plays a role in the foliage display," Healey said.

Pastelok also noted that some areas in the Northeast will see "great colors" this fall, but they might emerge "about a week or two behind the typical peak of fall foliage due to a surge of mild weather." Places like Vermont, New Hampshire and upstate New York might not see peak fall colors until the second week of October as opposed to their typical late-September peak.