Good news for Fall Foliage 2011 hopefuls: areas in the northeast pounded by Hurricane Irene and flooding from Tropical Storm Lee won't find the leaves ruined this year, according to an expert.
Foliage hot spots including Vermont and Maine that were impacted by Irene as a tropical storm are getting ready to open for business, and reports are that foliage will be intact and most roads will be open.
I still think we could have a reasonable year for fall colors this year, even with the climatic extremes that we've had, Penn State's fall foliage expert Dr. Marc Abrams told Accuweather.
Vermont is typically a fall foliage hot spot, and while that state was ravaged by flooding from Hurricane Irene a couple of weeks ago the number of damaged trees from the storm isn't expected to put a damper on fall splendor. Many trees were uprooted and damaged by Irene's wind and soaked grounds, but, Abrams said, if you think about it, that's a small percentage of the trees in the area.
Vermont tourism officials are getting out the word that the state has pulled out all the stops to repair roads and communities affected by Irene, and the state is urging fall foliage 2011 hopefuls to keep their plans.
I you have plans to come visit, please keep them; we would love to see you and our businesses need you now more than ever, official State of Vermont Tourism Web site says. On some roads, you can expect travel to take a little extra time at work zones or detours for construction.
Similarly, Maine is getting ready for its busy foliage season, and the Maine Department of Conservation's fall foliage Web site, mainefoliage.com, goes online this week with information for those who want to see the changing colors. The Web site launches Wednesday, at the start of the state's foliage season.
On the Maine site, foliage fans will find that state forest rangers collect information and observations from seven zones throughout the state, providing the data and updates to the public and media. The information is displayed through a zone map, for ease of use.
Officials in Maine say more than 17 million acres of Maine forest sustained only minor damage from Irene, a tropical storm by the time it reached the state.