Finally, something might be good this year: autumn leaves

Jason Kapusta | Herald fileAbove-average rainfall this summer and weather that should be more dry in coming weeks should create the perfect conditions for a colorful autumn.

Peggy Mazyck’s reaction to AccuWeather’s local forecast for the fall was…. Well, that can wait.

First the fall forecast: Local trees and other foliage will be exploding with color.

Now, Mazyck’s reaction: “This is exciting.’’

Mazyck, CEO of VisitMercer CountyPA, the county’s tourism agency, was informed of AccuWeather’s forecast on Friday.

“We’re going to use this to promote the area,’’ she said.

There is real science behind the forecast, said Randy Adkin, a meteorologist for State College-based AccuWeather.

“You’ve had the perfect weather needed for a colorful fall,’’ Adkin said.

At the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna, Ohio, 13.3 inches of rain fell during the summer months from June to August, which is nearly 2 inches above the normal total of 11.43 inches. In the last weeks of August the area got about two inches of rain.

Above-average rainfall, particularly in the closing days of summer, is a factor in boosting the color in plants, Adkin said.

“And our forecast for the rest of September through most of October is that you’re going to have below-average rainfall,’’ he said. “Drying out then produces the best foliage.’’

Rainfall totals in the Mercer County area were higher than other parts of the state, Adkin said.

Finally, something might be good this year: autumn leaves

VisitMercerCountyPA  | ContributedInterspersed shades of green, yellow, amber and rust reflect along with the blue sky off the water of Lake Wilhelm in northeastern Mercer County during a past autumn.

“You did a lot better than your neighbors,’’ he said.

The tourist agency regularly promotes the natural surroundings of the county, Mazyck said.

“But we certainly want to use this information to promote what we’ll have this fall,’’ she said.

A good combination will be self-driving tours as people will still be concerned about maintaining social distancing, Mazyck said.

“People travel regionally along I-80 and I-79, and we can show them back roads here they can travel on to see some beautiful scenery and places to stop at,’’ she said.

All of the area’s parks will have great scenery locations, Mazyck added.

“We have wonderful bicycle trails and marinas,’’ she said. “And we already have fall activities opening up like corn mazes.’’

Mazyck said the agency will be posting a map next week showing destination points on its website, visitmercercountypa.com.

“We want to show this is a safe place where you can come with your family and enjoy yourself,’’ she said.

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