WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- As the leaves begin to change colors, Westchester County residents can look forward to the peak days of fall foliage season in the coming weeks.
"As of right now we're a little behind where we would normally be," said John Dlugoenski, a meteorologist with Accuweather.com.
The peak time for vibrant colors normally comes around Oct. 15 to Oct. 20, but warmer weather this year means that the peak should come around Oct. 20 to 25.
The weather in September and October has been cool, but not cold enough for the foliage to really start turning, Dlugoenski said. The leaves really start changing colors when the nights are cold, with lows in the 30's, and the days are warm and sunny, with highs in the 60's. Rain and moisture in the soil can also have an impact on the vibrancy of the colors. When the weather is really dry in September, sometimes the leaves can start to die before they change color, so the colors will not be as vibrant.
Farther north up in the Catskills the leaves have already hit their peak colors, but by the weekend, Westchester residents won't have to travel that far, Dlugoenski said. Saturday, Oct. 19 will be a good day to observe the trees, as it is expected to be partly sunny and dry.
Westchester is home to more than 50 parks and recreation areas where leaf peepers can check out the changing colors in the weeks ahead. Westchester County Tourism also has a number of routes that you can take through the county to enjoy the sights. Recommended stops include the Water Grant Street area in Yonkers, Kingsland Point Park in Sleepy Hollow, and Riverfront Green Park in Peekskill. Along these routes you will be able to see the different colors among the hundreds of species of trees in Westchester.
"There are three trees that are particularly colorful," said Michael Penziner, a long-time volunteer with the Rye Nature Center and the New York Botanical Gardens. "The sugar maple is a brilliant red, the red maple is a nice red, and the black tupelo."
Parks around Westchester County will be holding a number of events for nature lovers to enjoy the fall foliage. On Saturday, Oct. 19, there will be a naturalist's choice hike at 10 a.m. at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, and a foliage tour at 2 p.m. at the Marshlands Conservancy in Rye. There will be a fall foliage hike at the Lenoir Preserve in Yonkers on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 10 a.m.