The moment September came, my hometown entered the full-blown autumn mode. It’s been raining for two days now and the temperature suddenly dropped from the tropical 40 to the maximum of 18°C. But you know what it means? The sun will shine again, Indian summer will come, and the surroundings will be colored in the wonderful, warm tones of falling leaves.
Portrait, wedding, and landscape photographers particularly like this time of the year. And to make your planning easier and your photo shoot perfectly timed, SmokyMountains.com’s fall foliage prediction map for 2022 is here.
SmokyMountains.com utilizes a refined data model that depends on a combination of factors:
- NOAA historical temperatures
- NOAA historical precipitation
- NOAA forecast temperatures
- NOAA forecast precipitation
- Historical leaf peak trends
- Peak observation trends
- User Reports
The predictive map uses a complex algorithm that carefully analyzes several million data points and outputs approximately 50,000 predictive data pieces. This data then enables our program to forecast county-by-county the precise moment when peak fall will occur.
However, the map creator and brand founder David Angotti explains that, like any meteorological forecast dependent on weather variables, the leaf predictions are not 100% accurate. Still, the predictive fall foliage map has been published for nearly a decade, so David is confident in the data sources, process, and algorithm.
How it all began
“In 2013, potential visitors to the Smoky Mountain region began asking us questions about when the leaves would be most brilliant,” David tells DIYP. “From these questions, we built the first version of the fall leaf map and have consistently improved it each year.”
“What started as a fun side-project quickly became the most respected nationwide fall leaf map and one of the best fall resources in the country. Now, tens of millions of people use our map each year to plan vacations, weddings, and photography trips. However, the most common use is individuals using the leaf map to check when leaves will peak near their home.”
How to use the map
The fall leaf map is intuitive and really simple to use. When you visit the page (or see below), you will see a slider at the bottom. It will be set to the current week by default. You can slide the slider to the right to see the predicted progression of fall. The green indicates the trees in that area of the country have not begun to change colors. The brown color means that the leaves are past their peak. The remaining colors show a colorful depiction of the progression of fall.
For now, the map only covers the area of the United States. Maybe David and his team will spread it worldwide at some point, but in the meantime: our US-based readers can explore the map here and plan their shoot. You can also check out the best fall destinations for leaf peeping in all 50 states.