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Autumn is coming: find out when fall foliage will appear

The signs of autumn are already here: pumpkin spice lattes are available at coffee shops around the U.S., and drugstores have their Halloween candy and fall displays out. Soon, they’ll be joined by cooler weather and bright fall foliage.

If you’re done with summer, the interactive 2018 Fall Foliage Prediction Map seeks to clue you in to when autumn will arrive.

But despite the flavored coffees coming out, it may take a while before most places see true fall. Forecasters are expecting warm weather for a bit longer through most of the country.

The map is the creation of the Smoky Mountains website, which aims to help travelers time their trips to see the most colorful fall foliage.

“Each year, we use a proprietary algorithm to process millions of data pieces and output accurate predictions for the entire country,” map creator Wes Melton told the Daily Mail.

Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, weather forecasts and historical leaf trends, the site provides a county-by-county forecast of when the fall foliage is likely to be at its most striking.

It could be a long wait for some.

AccuWeather, a private forecasting service, is predicting a gradual transition to autumn in the northeastern United States and the mid-Atlantic region, with lingering warm weather. The Southeast could see tropics-like weather with plenty of chances for rain, while the Southwest will likely stay scorching.

“Meanwhile, the central and northern Plains will get a little bit of everything, including the threat for some early-season snow,” the weather site reported.

Throughout most of the growing season, leaves are full of chlorophyll that makes them appear verdant and vivid. But as the days get shorter and less light is available, chlorophyll production slows down and leaves turn color before they eventually brown and wither. Temperature also affects fall leaf colors, as well as how long they last.

To view the map, visit the 2018 Fall Foliage Map on the Smoky Mountain site.

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