Fall Color Ahead by Matt Ferguson

Autumn officially begins this Saturday, September 22 at 10:49 a.m. This is when the sun's strongest rays are shining directly on the equator.

With this comes progressively longer nights and cooler conditions, which always brings out brilliant fall foliage across our state. In our region, middle October into early November is the best time to check out all the vibrant foliage. Sometimes you can have color as early as late September in the highest elevations in Bath County. Also colors can last as long as middle November across southeast sections near Buggs Island Lake. If you plan to venture out in the weeks ahead, the map will give you some guidance on where to see the best colors.

The weather often plays a key role in how colorful the leaves turn out each season. This year, the weather may be just right! Temperatures at night should remain cool (40s and 50s), with pleasant afternoon highs (70s). Temperatures at these levels are at least one characteristic you need for good color development.

Another is rainfall. The last few months have been dry, however recent rain is helping. For the best color, soil moisture levels need to be normal, as drought and soggy soils do NOT promote optimal leaf color. Hopefully we'll get to enjoy nature's beauty as the leaves' most vivid and bright colors make an appearance this year!