No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, but summer is coming to a close. Sorry. Ritualistic discussion of the return of pumpkin-spice as though it's a prophesized diety has already started. Halloween and back to school talk has infiltrated the planning of beach weekends over your favorite or most-tolerated hard seltzer.
Fortunately, autumn has its own charms, not least of which is fall foliage. Peak leaf-peeping season is coming, albeit a little later than usual. SmokyMountains.com has released its annual interactive fall foliage forecast map, predicting when and where leaves are going to be at their prime. Yes, it's time to start planning your apple cider-rich drives through the leafy parts of the state.
Of course, there are a lot of factors impacting when leaves hit their peak, so no map projecting the changing of colors is going to be 100% accurate. A warm spell or a storm that strips the trees of their leaves is going to change the projections. Nonetheless, at the moment, these are the best projections available based on a number of factors, including peak observation trends, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) historical temperatures, NOAA historical precipitation, NOAA forecast temperatures, NOAA forecast precipitation, and historical leaf peak trends.
"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 data scientist and SmokyMountains.com CTO Wes Melton. "By utilizing the date selector at the bottom of the map, the user can visually understand how fall will progress over a region."