Football season has begun and Fall is only 14 days away (September 23rd). Prime Fall Foliage in Central PA occurs in mid to late October. The counties north of I-80 notice the change first. Then a week later the southern counties catch up. Last year’s Fall foliage was a bummer. The colors were lackluster and the peak didn’t last long. So, what kind of weather do we need this year to have prime Fall foliage?
Prime Weather Conditions: To get prime Fall Foliage we need warm, sunny days and cool nights. Frost can damage or kill the leaves. Strong winds and heavy rain can cause the leaves to fall off the trees before they can fully develop their color.
Last year (2018): September through October last year was humid, warm, cloudy and wet. Exactly what we don’t want to see.
September (2018): The average temperature in September for Altoona is 61.7 degrees. The average temperature last September was 69 degrees. That is 7.3 degrees above normal. September was also a very wet month. Altoona received 9.86 inches of rain, that is 6.40 inches above normal. Lastly, Altoona had 13 cloudy days, 9 partly cloudy days and 7 clear sky days.
October (2018): The average temperature in October for Altoona is 55 degrees. The average temperature last year was 58.9 degrees, that is 3.9 degrees above normal. October received 3.26 inches of rain last year, that is 0.66 inches above normal. October wasn’t any better when it came to cloudy days. There were 8 cloudy days, 20 partly cloudy days and 3 clear sky days in the month.
Remember, the more sun the better the colors! The combination of a lot of rain, warmer and cloudier days stunned the Fall foliage last year.
2019 Outlook: As of now this year does look better than last year but the question is how much better? Warmer weather will move this week. The high temperatures this week will be in the upper 70s to the 80s. The average temperatures this week for Altoona is 74-72 degrees. The temperatures are forecast to remain above average into next week. If this pattern continues into late September the Fall foliage will not be as bright. If the temperatures fall closer to average by the end of September and the beginning of October then the Fall Foliage will be better this year.