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When will the leaves be at their peak color change?

Thursday - 9/23/2010, 5:31am  ET

fall foliage (Thinkstock Photo)
The peak may not last as long as in previous years because it's been so dry. (Thinkstock Photo)
Darci Marchese,

WASHINGTON - Drought conditions in the area could impact how long the changing fall leaves will stick around, but when will the foliage actually be in its full glory?

WTOP Facebook Fan Edite wants to know.

Edite asked WTOP on its Facebook page when the leaves in the Shenandoah Valley will likely peak.

Ed Stoots, the regional forester with the Virginia Department of Forestry, says they'll likely peak mid-October.

"We may not know when the peak time is until a week or so in advance," Stoots says.

He explains that when the leaves in higher elevations start to change color, the color will begin to change down the mountain. When that happens, the peak is one to two weeks away.

He also says the Shenandoah Valley is "one of the areas that's in a severe to moderate drought," meaning the pretty colors could come and go fairly quickly.

Scientists isn't clear on the exact impact of drought-like conditions on the color and length of fall colors, but Stoots says typically it can shorten peak times.

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