As summer heads into its final week, green is still the dominant color of New York State's landscape.
But the scenes are beginning to change. The state's first fall foliage report of 2018 was released Wednesday, showing some color change in parts of the Adirondacks, Gloversville and in the Thousand Islands region.
"I'm hopeful for a more colorful season than we had last year," said Eric Scheffel, of Empire State Development. He has worked on the weekly fall foliage updates for the past 23 years.
"So far, the colors are very low. Next week, they should be coming out a lot more. I'm hoping the rains we've had and the cooler temperatures in the evenings are going to really start to bring them out in the next couple weeks -- especially up in the Adirondacks and the Catskills," he said.
Through the season, the state reports will be issued each Wednesday, predicting how colors will present for the following weekend, based on observations by trained "spotters" in various parts of the state.
According to the first report:
* Spotters in Tupper Lake are predicting up to 10 percent color change for the coming weekend, with shades of mustard yellow, goldenrod, copper, burgundy and an occasional crimson showing in trees.
* Saranac Lake observers expect up to 10 percent change, though leaves are still predominantly green. Some red will be seen in red maples; yellow and orange colors will be showing in some sugar maples.
* Crown Point will be at 5 to 15 percent change, with colors showing at higher elevations.
* In Gloversville, spotters expect 10 to 15 percent color change, with some leaves turning dull yellow and others going to orange.
* For the Thousand Islands, yellow leaves of average brilliance are expected to be part of a 10 percent color change. Canton will also be at 10 percent for the weekend, with yellow and orange leaves appearing.
Spotters around the rest of the state are expecting color changes of 5 percent or less.
Scheffel said more color has been reported for this year's first report than was reported in the first report of the 2017 foliage season.
"I think this was due to the hot summer we had," Scheffel said. "A lot of leaves burned off early or changed without having much color. It was a very muted season last year."
Scheffel also said cool nights are an important component in the color-change process.
"Our spotters in the Adirondacks are waiting for the first frost to come, which shouldn't be that far away," Scheffel said. "Those really start popping out the colors ... frost is good."
Peak is traditionally Columbus Day weekend in much of upstate New York, so leaves will be changing quickly over the next three weeks.
"It's not prime time yet," Scheffel said, "but I think the colors will be more vivid than last year."
Amanda Metzger, marketing director for the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, noted solid green trees earlier this week, but there were some other colors by Friday.
"It's definitely starting," she said.
Metzger also said she received calls last week from people in Iowa and California asking for the best weekends to take in the foliage.
"We don't have a crystal ball; we can't always tell," Metzger said. "We tell them we don't really know yet. There are several factors. I end up talking to them about a lot of our fall events, so if they choose to come up the last week of September or first weekend of October, they'll know what kind of events to expect."
Using that strategy, Metzger said, ensures people still have things to do, in case colors have not reached peak brilliance.
"Every year, we see more and more people coming for foliage," Metzger said. "We even see some international people. They come into New York City and decide to explore the rest of the state."
Contact Daily Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]