While autumn officially starts at 3:20 p.m. on Wednesday, it will be early October before people in this area start seeing the bright reds, oranges, and yellows that are a hallmark of the season.
The fall equinox takes place on Wednesday at 3:20 p.m., said Matt Steinbugl, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service at State College.
At this heavenly moment, the sun’s rays are right on the equator, he said.
The earth has three rings. The equator is in the center, the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere and the Tropic of Cancer north of the equator. The earth tilts in space, he said.
In winter, the sun’s rays fall on the Tropic of Capricorn. In spring, the sun’s rays are back on the equator and in summer on the Tropic of Cancer, he said.
As the days get shorter and temperatures get fresher, the calm green palette of summer foliage transforms to the brilliant fall colors of red, orange, rust and golden yellow before leaves fall from the trees.
According to Craig Evanego, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, there is one “pretty strong” Cold front is expected to hit the city Wednesday through Thursday, with temperatures in the second half of the week “I feel a little more like in autumn”.
“After that (cold front) it looks seasonally cooler and drier.” he said.
On Wednesday, the city should see temperatures around 75 degrees during the day, with afternoon showers, a probability of about 60%.
When the cold front coming from the Midwest crosses, showers are more likely on Wednesday evening, around 70% with lows around 60 degrees.
At the beginning of the week, Evanego said that the temperatures “Almost above normal” with highs of 75 on Monday with a low of 57 Monday night. Tuesday should experience the same high temperatures with a small chance of showers, 30%, at night, lows around 63, according to the National Weather Service.
Evanego said temperatures will stay roughly the same Thursday through Saturday, with highs in the low 70s with Thursday being the coolest with a 50% chance of showers.
The lows by the weekend will be in the low 50s, Thursday night is the coolest around 52 degrees.
In the city, the trees are starting to turn into parks until, depending on the weather, they peak in early to mid-October, says Chad Eckert, the city arborist and forester with the city’s road and park office.
The foliage begins to show its many colors as the chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down. This is due to changes in the length of daylight and temperature as the leaves cease their food-making process, according to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which has a description of this phenomenon and a weekly tracker map of fall foliage on its website.
The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves some of their autumn splendor, according to the website.
Pennsylvania has a longer and more varied fall foliage season than any other state in the nation, according to the department.
In this region, the map of the department shows the status of the foliage in the state forests of Tiadaghton, Sproul and Susquehannock. The user on the website only has to click on the corresponding number for the forests and the information is displayed.
For the further northern plain northwest of Lycoming County, there is a location for the Pine Creek Valley.
The Poe Valley location is in areas closer to State College.
To get the next scenic drive from Williamsport, the map directs the user to the starting point in the Jersey Shore neighborhood. From there, the user is prompted to drive up Route 44 northwest of the intersection with Route 220.
This ride is considered to be one of the most beautiful foliage displays in the state.
Sun Gazette employee Mallorie McIlwain
contributed to this report.
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