What will NYC's fall foliage look like after a summer drought?
One thing that makes autumn so beautiful is the vibrant colors on the leaves. But what will this season look like?
It was a hot and dry summer season with drought conditions that spread across the city. During the summer season, New York City had a deficit of 4.39 inches for rainfall and 24 days of 90 degree temperatures. Temperatures were well-above average with August being the third hottest August on record.
In order for the leaves to change into the bright orange, red and yellow colors, they need three main ingredients: mild days of 70-75 degrees and crisp nights of 57-62 degrees, a significant amount of rain from the spring and summer season, and light winds.
According to Climate Central, as autumn approaches, there are several indicators for the changing season. The shorter days and cooler temperatures tell trees that it’s time to start preserving their nutrients for the next growing season. Severe drought during the growing season tends to cause trees to begin to turn color early and not last as long. It can even lead them to skip color all together, browning and falling before fall even really gets started. Moderate drought can actually delay the onset of fall color.
Despite New York City's ongoing drought, there’s still hope for the fall season. Large amounts of rain can cause later changing leaves, but brighter colors. Warmer temperatures bring the uncertainty for when the leaves will change colors and even shortens the duration of the changing colors.
So where do we stand today? We’re forecasting a dull foliage display and the foliage lasting for a shorter period of time due to the drought. However, if we get a decent amount of rain during meteorological fall, this should enhance our chances with the foliage over the next month.
According to the Climate Prediction Center, we have an equal chance of rainfall for the fall season and temperatures are forecast to be above average. Your News 12 Storm Watch Team will keep you up to date on the current drought and what’s to come for the fall season.