MAP: Predict when fall foliage will peak in your area

Posted On Mon, September 21, 2020 By

Posted On Mon, September 21, 2020 By In Events, Features, maps

Image courtesy of Smoky Mountains

It officially feels like Fall, and whether you’re good and ready for sweater weather or you’re sorry to see summer go, there’s no avoiding the fact that cooler temps and shorter days are on the way. One way to savor the changing seasons is to enjoy the majestic hues of autumn foliage. If you’re hoping to catch the changing season at its peak, there’s no better tool to plan your leaf-peeping strategy than’s Fall Foliage Prediction Map. This interactive infographic will tell you when and where foliage is expected to appear, and when it will reach its peak, in your area. Here in NYC, expect peak foliage to hit around mid-October.

Map courtesy of Smoky Mountains

To create the map, a complex algorithm was developed that carefully analyzes several million data points and outputs approximately 50,000 predictive data pieces. This data then enables the program to forecast county-by-county the precise moment when “fall peak” will occur. Some of the data points processed by the algorithm include National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) historical temperatures, precipitation, forecast temperatures, and forecast precipitation; historical leaf peak trends; and peak observation trends.

As Smokey Mountains’ founder and statistical expert David Angotti explains, “The timing of the map publication date is important. If we publish too early, the map is inaccurate. If we publish too late, it will not benefit the end-users. Similar to a weekend forecast, finding the intersection of reliable data and usefulness is very important. With our unique blend of historical and forecast data, we are able to make a highly accurate prediction each year by Labor Day. The drastic year-to-year changes dictate that we create a new map from scratch with new data each year.”

In terms of our unique situation this year, Angotti notes, “Our travel brands have experienced a trend of increased visitation in vacation markets that visitors can drive to and decreased visitation where flights are required. Since many of the top fall foliage destinations are within an easy drive of major cities, we are expecting larger leaf-peeping crowds in many of the popular fall foliage destinations.”

The map can forecast county-by-county the precise moment when fall peak will occur and covers a 12-week period between September 7 and November 23. Check out the full map here >>

This post was originally published on September 20, 2018; it has been updated to reflect the 2020 data


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