ITHACA, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – According to s Cornell University experts, the colorful foliage throughout the Northeast may not last as long this fall due to extra dry conditions.

Arthur DeGatano, a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and an expert on climate data, said that the mid-summer drought is likely to affect what we see this year.

“Areas in southern New England, the Hudson Valley of New York, and parts of central Vermont, have been particularly dry. Such dry conditions, particularly if they extend into the fall, may delay the onset of fall colors. In addition, trees that have been particularly hard hit by the dry conditions are likely to show only muted colors, with leaves dropping quickly. Thus, in some areas, the reds and yellows of fall might not last as long as normal. In fact, some especially drought-stressed trees have already become to drop their leaves. Northern New England largely escaped this summer’s drought so there the return to cooler temperatures are likely to lead to quintessential New England fall colors.”

Taryn Bauerle, an associate professor of plant science, said she believes that trees will still be colorful, but might be a bit patchy.

“I think the lack of rain over most of the summer will cause many trees in dryer areas to start to change their leaves early.  In some ways, you can spot the trees in dry areas this way. We have had a fair amount of rainfall in the last two weeks, but I am not sure if it is enough to affect fall foliage. If the rain does continue it could just result in knocking the senescing leaves off the trees earlier. Overall, colors should be very nice this year but maybe a bit patchy. Early October should be the optimal time to visit NY, with higher elevation areas having more substantial color then lower elevations.”