(WVNS) — There is something to be said about the fall season in Appalachia. Chilly mornings, apple picking, bonfire nights, and of course the majestic beauty of our fall colors. The big boost in tourism to our region and local farmers bringing their harvests to market, fall is a special time of year for our region.

While a lot can change in foliage forecasts due to temperatures, moisture levels, and even the species of trees in any given area, your StormTracker59 team has their thoughts on when we can expect peak colors in the Two-Virginias this year.

Overall, the summer of 2022 has been a soggy and cooler one than average. This spells good news for those looking for a fantastic fall foliage year. In 2021, much of the region dealt with drought conditions and warm temps leading to a lack luster foliage year as discussed by Meteorologist Bradley Wells this time last year here.

This year, much of our region is running at or above average in annual precipitation. The lack of drought conditions will help our trees keep their green a little longer this year. It will also ensure we see colors change roughly on time with past year averages. This also means more time to enjoy the colors from one zone to the next. An improvement over last years foliage colors.

The more challenging part of this forecast is long range temperature forecasts. The Atlantic Hurricane Season, late season warm-ups, and variables in our jet stream yet known could impact our average temperatures going into the fall season. So far, long range forecasts are trending warmer than average for September, October and November. Not entirely a bad thing as warm days are helpful, but the key is cooler nights. If we can trend cooler in the overnights for a good stretch leading up to peak color timing, we could see a very good fall foliage year.

One aspect of ensuring cooler nights is less in the way of rainfall. Clouds tend to keep us warmer as they act like a blanket, keeping in the radiant heat of the day. A clear night allows daytime heat to escape into the upper atmosphere leading to chillier nights. As luck would have it, September, October, and November are typically our driest months and long-range forecasts indicate we’ll be below average in precipitation totals.

So far, so good on the weather forecast side of things for a great fall foliage year. Now the challenge is finding that amazing spot with a wide variety of tree species as colors and timing differ between each. An area with mostly Oak trees will be more brown whereas those with Poplar will see more golden yellows. Finding an area with lots of varieties of trees will be the best route. The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources has a great map listing the types of trees found around the state here.

As far as peak time for fall foliage in West Virginia and Virginia, dates range from mid-September to late October given the unique mountainous landscape of the two states. The higher the elevations the earlier you’ll see peak colors with the low lands coming in towards the middle and end of October. The following is our estimated times on when you can expect peak fall foliage in your county. Dates are given as estimates based on current conditions and long-range forecast data.

Fall Foliage Estimates for September 15th through September 21st
Fall Foliage Estimates for September 25th through October 3rd
Fall Foliage Estimates for October 4th through October 11th
Fall Foliage Estimates for October 12th through October 21st

No matter where you go to view the beauty of our fall colors, don’t forget to share your photos with us! We’re looking for those breathtaking views all across the two-Virginias this year. Simply upload your photos to our #WeatherTogether community photo album and we may just use your photos on air! Find more info about #WeatherTogether here.