This interactive map shows fall foliage predictions across the U.S. (Smoky Mountains/USFWS Midwest Region/Flickr)
This interactive map shows fall foliage predictions across the U.S.
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An interactive map was published. It was done by the tourism website Smoky Mountains. It is set to help fall foliage enthusiasts. It will help make the most of the colorful season.

Alison Fox reported on it for Travel + Leisure. The map draws on various data. It includes precipitation and temperature forecasts. It includes average daylight exposure. And it uses soil moisture. It predicts the timing of leaves' color change. This is across the United States.

Users can view weekly forecasts. They select dates. They are listed below the color-coded map. Swaths of green overtake the map when users click September 7. It shows the lack of fall foliage. 

Shades of orange, red and brown appear by October 19. They reveal the arrival of near peak or peak foliage. It is in the northern and western U.S. By November 30 all but the southernmost parts of the U.S. are past peak point.

"The predictive fall leaf map helps potential travelers, photographers and leaf peepers determine the precise future date that the leaves will peak in each area of the continental United States," said Wes Melton. He is one of the data scientists who created the tool. "We believe this ... will enable travelers to take more meaningful fall vacations, capture beautiful fall photos and enjoy the natural beauty of autumn."

David Angotti is another researcher responsible for the yearly publication. He tells Patch's Beth Dalbey that no forecast is "100 percent accurate." He added that Smoky Mountains' tool is one of the only proven to provide accurate predictions. They are for the whole country.

The team analyzed millions of data points. They were collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also used other private and public organizations. That's according to Travel + Leisure's Fox. 

Dalbey writes that the researchers refine the tool every year. This is the sixth version of the map. It builds on sources such as historical and forecasted temperatures. It looks at leaf peak trends and peak observation trends. These help produce the final product.

Chlorophyll is the chemical responsible for turning their leaves green. Plants stop producing it when fall approaches and the days get shorter. That's according to the U.S. Forest Service. This process unmasks pigments. They are typically overpowered by chlorophyll. It creates the beautiful colors associated with fall foliage.

Last year there was a long delay. It was in the fall colors' Midwest debut. It led the leaf-spotting Foliage Network to deem the season "bizarre." Last year was the first time the group recorded almost no color change by the second half of October. That's according to City Lab's Linda Poon.
The leaves finally did change. But they were mostly green and brown, not vibrant orange and red.

Experts say fall foliage is running behind schedule in 2019. Weather.com's Brian Donegan reported on the season. He said above-average September temperatures have delayed the timing of peak foliage.

Early October will likely mark the start of 2019's prime leaf-peeping season. That's thanks to the warm weather. New England and the Rockies experienced peak foliage last week. Tourists seeking autumnal reds and golds should pack their bags soon. They should prepare to enjoy the view.

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What other features do you think should be included in the map? How would they be beneficial?
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COMMENTS (74)
  • WyattN-eas
    10/21/2019 - 09:32 a.m.

    One year the leaves didn't change color till the second part of October

  • JaimeG-eas
    10/21/2019 - 09:32 a.m.

    chlorophyll is turning the leaves colors like red, orange, and yellow.

  • EmilyJ-eas
    10/21/2019 - 09:33 a.m.

    And what states might get more leaves falling first.

  • KevinM-eas
    10/21/2019 - 09:34 a.m.

    The name of the states and when they would hit there

  • DanteD-eas
    10/21/2019 - 09:35 a.m.

    It was very interesting how it had detail about fall leaves and their color.

  • HollyB.-eas
    10/21/2019 - 09:35 a.m.

    The article was about what happened in the fall. It was when the leaves changed and fell.

  • KobeM-eas
    10/21/2019 - 09:35 a.m.

    How many overpowered chlorophylls there is in the United States Of America-USA ?

  • AllieC-eas
    10/21/2019 - 09:35 a.m.

    I think that there should be outlines of trees on the map because if someone first starts reading they can get a clue about what they are reading about.

  • CiaraB-eas
    10/21/2019 - 09:35 a.m.

    I think it's cool that plants stop producing when fall comes and the days get shorter.

  • GabeJ-eas
    10/21/2019 - 09:37 a.m.

    I think it would help if they had wind speeds as a color.
    At least they would know what to expect.

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