Forecast Right For Fall Colors to Shine Brightly

Wednesday, Oct 5, 2011  |  Updated 2:27 PM EDT
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Upper elevations in the Maryland and Virginia are already seeing changing colors in the trees.

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For the changing leaves to turn the richest colors in autumn, the region needs a particular blend of hot and cold weather.

"To have enhanced color, we need a dry fall, with cool nights and warm sunny days," said Russ MacFarlane, a researcher with U.S. Forest Service.

With a forecast that calls for sunshine through next week, News4's Veronica Johnson said conditions are "just perfect" to produce those bright colors.

In higher elevations of West Virginia and Virginia, reports have already been filed of foliage changing color.  Some early change has already been spotted in the higher reaches of Maryland's Garrett County.

"We are just starting to see a little bit of color, around 10 percent, in the highest elevations," MacFarlane said.

He said two weeks of sustained sunshine would yield the most dramatic color change.

Need some help identifying those leaves?  Print out this cheat sheet and bring it along on your next hike.  You can also find detailed foliage reports from our region and elsewhere at the Foliage Network's site.

When you head out to do some foliage watching, we want to see your photos - email them to us at weather@nbwashington.com or submit them here.

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