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Rain still wanting, but annual foliage show won’t be washout

Deficits persist, but fall colors should prevail

Heading into Monday, Philadelphia's rain total for the previous 30 days was merely a third of normal.

By day's end, that deficit was cut in half, and the 30-day total was within a third of where it should have been.

More rain fell in Philadelphia on Monday, 1.28 inches, than on any day since July 25, and this time around the rains were copious just about everywhere, with totals 1 to 1.5 inches in the city in the seven neighboring counties, according to the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center.

The forecast center averages out totals from several stations in each county.

In addition to easing the deficits, the rain was timely for another reason: The region is in for another dry run.

Not a drop is in the outlooks for the next week, and in the government's 8-to-14-day forecast, the odds favor below-normal precipitation.

Some concerns have been raised by early leaf-fall, likely the result of the generally dry conditions.

However, we see no reason yet to worry about any drought impacts on the fall-foliage show.

Parts of New England have weathered horrific dryness in recent weeks, with over half of Massachusetts in a state of "extreme drought," according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

However the early word from Vermont, with over 85 percent of the state at least "abnormally dry," suggests that the season is unfolding on schedule.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that in terms of drought what really matters is what happens during the growing season, which is over by the end of June.

And the Drought Monitor reports that the entire Northeast was drought-free from April through June.

The weather during the next few weeks would be critical, as Penn State foliage expert Marc Abrams hs said. The ideal conditions for fall color would be warm, sunny days and cool nights absent killer frosts.

Right now a succession of warm, sunny days appear likely, and certainly no killer frosts are in the picture. We'll see about the cool nights.

In our experience, we have seen a tremendous variety in the timing and quality of the annual foliage show, but have never known it to disappoint.