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New England Snow Storm and Late Foliage

Posted Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
New England Snow Storm and Late Foliage
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I’m a day late in posting the foliage blog this week, but I’ve been playing chicken with the forecast of winter weather. Will it happen, how much will fall, where will it fall, how long will it stay, and will there be a second storm? All questions that have the meteorologists in the region anxious about every run of the computer models, looking for updates.

The situation can be seen with significantly more clarity today. Thursday into Friday, much of Vermont, as well as inland New Hampshire and Maine, are likely to see the first accumulating snow of the season. The accumulations may reach as far south as northern and western Massachusetts as well. A widespread snowfall while the leaves are on the trees (and in many places still quite green) is quite an unusual event outside of the mountains and far northern tier. The last time I can remember it was in 2005, and in retrospect, the whole foliage season holds many similarities to that year as well. The leaves are late, the color muted and in many areas, no true peak color.

Snowboarding in Late October 2005
Snowboarding in Late October 2005

The best chances to catch the snow and foliage combination is likely to be the southern and eastern extents of the mountains, where the color is lingering longer. In the far north, there will be more snow, but the only remaining leaves are on the beeches in the understory. These leaves are pretty, but won’t provide much opportunity for wide ranging scenes of snow and color. Further south, the color is stronger, but the snowfall will be tougher to get to stick and stay.

Beech Leaves Provide Past Peak Color in the Northern Forest, Remaining at times Until the Following Spring Beech Leaves Provide Past Peak Color in the Northern Forest, Remaining at Times Until the Following Spring

Late Foliage in Alton, New Hampshire on 10-21-2011

In southern New Hampshire and southern Maine, the foliage continues to emerge in scattered and sporadic ways, with some strong color still to be found. The shores of the Merrimack River are one such area that emerged this past week, and should continue to hold color after the storm. South of this river valley, Boston remains largely green, with color beginning to pop. A trip to the Blue Hills Preserve, outside of and overlooking the city could be a wonderful visit for this weekend!

Further south in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the color is spotty, making a long drive a nice option. Many great routes are highlighted on, but I’ve always been partial to Rt. 169 south of Woodstock. During a trip, you might expect many of the mature maples to have shed their leaves, and many of the mature oaks yet to turn. The young maples, as well as the birches and beeches are showing good color though, and are often set among the fine rural and pastoral scenes complete with pumpkin patches and farms along the route.

Overall, it should be an exciting few days of foliage viewing in New England, and there may be some unique opportunities for one of a kind photographs of the clashing of seasons. We hope you take time to enjoy the remaining color, and share it with us at our Foliage Facebook Page. And if you do come away with a great shot, please consider entering it in our Yankee Foliage Photo Contests. The deadline for entries continues through November 15th.

Until next week, stay warm, and enjoy the show, and Happy Halloween!

Jim Salge


Jim Salge


As a former meteorologist at the Mount Washington Observatory, foliage reporter Jim Salge is a keen observer of the progression of the seasons in New England. He uses his knowledge of weather, geography and climate to pinpoint the best time to visit various New England locations to find the best light, atmosphere, and most importantly, color.
Updated Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
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