Fall Foliage: Colors of the Season

Where are the best colors at this weekend?

By Bob Ryan
|  Friday, Oct 9, 2009  |  Updated 3:45 PM EDT
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Fall Foliage: Colors of the Season

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Fall is here -- the leaves are already starting to change.

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There are some great fall foliage colors to be had this weekend -- but it will take a little driving.

The Columbus Day weekend is typically the weekend for peak fall colors through much of New England into upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania.  But there is also some great color to the west of Washington in the high spots of West Virginia.

Head to spots like Dolly Sods for some great views and great colors only a few hours away. The Poconos also have some beautiful colors this weekend, and the farther north you drive, the more likely you are to find weekend sunshine. Some clouds will hang around the Washington area for the beginning of the weekend.

The beautiful colors we enjoy during this time of year have always been in the leaves. But during the growing season the leaves of trees like oak, maple, and elm are green as the leaves produce chlorophyll. The chlorophyll molecule absorbs sunlight in the red and blue part of the spectrum, but not green light. The green part of the light is reflected by growing chlorophyll-filled leaves, and the leaves appear green. As the growing season ends, the leaf begins to die and chlorophyll production ends and the reds, oranges and yellow colors we love in autumn begin to come out.

Here’s a great way to keep track of one of the most popular spots for autumn color -- the USGS camera on Skyline Drive.

It looks like there is some great color now, and the colors are probably coming a bit early this year due to our continuing dry pattern.

Have a great, colorful holiday weekend -- and go out, get some fresh air and turn over an old leaf.

(Don't forget to upload your photos to So Washington.  You can even do it directly from your iPhone now using our new app!)

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