Green leaves are turning to shades of gold, amber and orange in parts of the Capital Region.
But those looking for more dramatic autumn color should travel north. Trees in the Adirondack communities of Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake are expected to reach the 50 percent mark for color transition this weekend.
The updates are part of this week's fall foliage report, the third issued so far this season by Empire State Development, which administers the I Love New York tourism program. The reports, issued on Wednesdays throughout the season, enlist "spotters" around the state who observe color changes and predict how leaves will look for the coming weekend.
According to the latest checks, red, orange and yellow leaves of average brilliance are shaping up in Saranac Lake.
"Spotters in Tupper Lake expect 45 to 50 percent color change this weekend, with muted colors," the report states. "A rosy, golden glow marks the landscape with the leaves slowly transitioning to goldenrod, saffron, russet, pumpkin, scarlet and cranberry."
Warren County's transition will be at about 20 percent for the weekend, with the most visible transition observed in northwest areas. Leaves in Johnsburg, North Creek and Hague are turning red.
In Essex County, reds and yellows have been seen in Wilmington and on Whiteface Mountain, where spotters estimate color change at between 10 and 25 percent for the coming weekend. Crown Point and Ticonderoga are at about 25 and 15 percent, respectively.
Capital Region residents who want to stay closer to home will see about 15 percent color change in Saratoga Springs, with yellow, amber and oranges visible.
Eric Scheffel, a spokesman for Empire State Development, said on Thursday that color changes have been slow throughout the state. But he added that leaves can change quickly.
"It's not an exact science," he said of the foliage prediction effort. "It's pretty much based on the feelings of the people who live around the areas, knowing how their foliage changes and what it looks like when the changes are coming on. They're making their best estimate as to when they're really going to start coming out.
"As of Monday and Tuesday, when we collected the foliage reports, they were pretty much low around the state, 10 to 15 percent in most regions," he said.
People who look at Empire State Development's updated foliage map will see plenty of yellow.
"It's our 'just changing' color," Scheffel said.
Weather has been cooperating. Warm, sunny days and cool nights are preferred conditions for optimum color change, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Sun is expected through the weekend, with highs in the mid-60s. Cool nights are also in the forecast.
"For Friday night into Saturday morning, we're looking at lows in the upper 40s to lower 50s, and Saturday night into Sunday morning, we're looking at lows in the lower to mid-40s," said Tom Wasula, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.
"That looks like the trend," Wasula added. "We're looking at 40s Sunday night into Monday morning, too. So we are looking at more seasonal, cooler nights. We're not looking at any frost yet, but the nights are definitely trending toward seasonal levels."
In other parts of the state:
* Altamont colors are expected to be at the 15 percent mark this weekend, spotters say, with gold and yellow appearing in the dominant - for now - shades of green.
* Schoharie County will be at 20 percent, with average shades of yellow.
* Gloversville will be at between 15 and 20 percent color transition this weekend, with yellow, orange and some shades of red.
* Rensselaer County spotters expect 10 to 20 percent change by the weekend, with some reds and yellows standing out.
* Finger Lakes color changes are expected at 25 to 30 percent, with yellow and red leaves appearing in Seneca County.
* The Thousand Islands -- Seaway section of New York -- will be at 40 percent this weekend. Reds, yellows and oranges are on display in St. Lawrence County.
Contact Daily Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]