ST. LOUIS — For Americans who had to cancel their summer flights and travel plans, a fall road trip might be in the works.
A perk of hitting the road this time of year is getting a glimpse of beautiful fall colors – they’ll be changing to brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow before we know it.
The people behind SmokyMountains.com are back with an updated map detailing when fall foliage will be at its best in every county of the country. The interactive map helps leaf peepers time out their drive to make the view getting from here to there a little more vibrant.
The first day of fall this year is Tuesday, Sept. 22. That week, the leaves are predicted to be hitting their peak in parts of Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Minnesota. The last bits of beautiful fall foliage are expected the week of Thanksgiving – Nov. 23 – in southeastern Texas and southern Florida.
“The map should be especially useful to potential travelers, leaf peepers, and photographers as they pick future dates for trips to view peak fall in each area of the United States,” said David Angotti, a statistical expert who founded SmokyMountains.com and created the map. “Our goal is that this data-based, interactive tool will increase the number of people that are able to enjoy peak fall in 2020.”
Angotti and his team create a new fall foliage map every year using 50,000 predictive data pieces, including historical temperatures, NOAA precipitation forecasts, previous leaf peak trends and their own data from past years.
As far as how accurate it is, Angotti said it’s like any other forecast.
“Since the fall foliage map is based on meteorology and predictive patters, the precise moment Mother Nature produces peak fall is difficult to predict. However, the good news is that the combination of nearly a decade of experience combined with great meteorological data sources ensures we achieve a higher accuracy over time,” he said.
COVID-19 hasn’t had an impact on the 2020 prediction map, but it could impact how many people you see out on the roads and at locations where fall colors really put on a show.