Un­usual warmth ru­in­ing fall fo­liage sea­son

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

USA TO­DAY

Some might like it hot — but not if you want eye-pop­ping fall fo­liage.

The on­go­ing sum­mer­like heat in the North­east has dulled some of the an­nual fo­liage spec­ta­cle there, where leaf-peep­ing typ­i­cally brings in mil­lions of tourists and hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars.

The muted colors have come in a year in which ex­perts had orig­i­nally pre­dicted the cool, wet sum­mer would pro­duce spec­tac­u­lar Oc­to­ber fo­liage, es­pe­cially in New Eng­land. But the sum­mer was fol­lowed by a very hot, dry Septem­ber, which al­lowed the leaves to con­tinue pro­duc­ing the chloro­phyll that keeps them green.

With­out chloro­phyll, the yel­low and or­ange pig­ments of the leaves be­come dom­i­nant, the Weather Chan­nel said.

Over­all, vi­brant fall colors oc­cur when three fac­tors come to­gether: The days get shorter, dry weather pre­vails, and the tem­per­a­ture drops, ac­cord­ing to Michael Day, Univer­sity of Maine re­search pro­fes­sor of phys­i­o­log­i­cal ecol­ogy.

While the days got shorter and it’s been very dry re­cently, sus­tained cool to cold weather hasn’t ar­rived yet.

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