Approaching Storm Approaching Peak

Indian Valley, Taylorsville (11/8/12) Jeff Luke Titcomb

A cold winter storm is passing in waves through Northern California, bringing colder temperatures, rain, snow and, most distressingly, wind.

Snow blankets Greenville (11/9/12) Jeff Luke Titcomb

General Update: The storm is affecting fall color in the Sierra and Gold Country, as seen in this photo at left sent from Greenville (Plumas County) by Jeff Luke Titcomb.  Trees that were full of fall color (see photo above) are now covered with snow in the Northern Sierra.  About 15% of leaves that had changed color were blown off branches, causing a colorful shower to be carried away in swirling chaos.  Still, a lot of color remains, particularly among leaves that were still short of peak.

Leaves that are still green or lime, even many that have just turned yellow, will stay hanging from branches, unless the winds blow above 15 mph.  From forecasts seen so far, it appears trees below 4,000 in elevation will be mostly spared the brunt of the storm, though those above that elevation are likely to be rain and snow damaged and – in places where wind is high, stripped from branches.

Pick of the Week is Yosemite Valley, where the color is peaking with color yet to develop on some Pacific dogwood and black oak.

Here’s the latest roundup:

High Sierra

Mountain Biking in Lower Rock Creek (11/3/12) Rob McSkimming

75 – 100% – Bishop, Crowley Lake, Lower Rock Creek, June  Lake, Walker River –  Specific locations in these areas of the Eastern Sierra are still showing beautiful color, though the entire Eastern Sierra is now approaching Past Peak.  With snow falling at higher elevations, this is likely the last week to see color in the Eastern Sierra.

Past Peak – Bishop Creek, McGee Creek, Convict Lake, Lee Vining Canyon, Lundy Canyon, Virginia Lakes, Twin Lakes, Sonora Pass, Monitor Pass and Mammoth Lakes – While leaf peeping has ended at these locations, Mammoth Mountain opened for skiing and boarding!  Winter has officially arrived at Mammoth Lakes.

75 – 100% – Yosemite Valley – Photographer Michael Frye reports today that color has multiplied in the past week and Yosemite Valley is peaking now, with still some green leaves to show.  He predicts the combination of a light dusting of snow with the fall color should make for spectacular photography this weekend, if the leaves survive the cold and possible wind.  “The oaks seem to be particularly nice this year,” he reports. Go Now!

Central Valley

75 – 100% – Sacramento – The urban forest of Sacramento has shown spectacular fall color the past week and still has many landmark trees showing yellow and red.  A storm passing over Sacramento will strip leaves from many of the trees that peaked first, but lots of color can be enjoyed between breaks in the storm.

North Coast

75 – 100% – Redwood National Park – Grant Roden reports spots of yellow and red appearing on bigleaf maple and red alders, contrasting with the deep green of the coastal redwoods.  In support, on our Facebook page Richard Stenger posts a photo of bigleaf maple surrounded by redwoods, taken at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

Shasta Cascade

75 – 100% – Siskiyou County – Trees in the lower elevations are hitting their peak or are already beyond it. Cooler temperatures are expected to hit in the next few days so the leaves are expected to fall soon. Most leaves have hit bright colors of yellows and reds.

Modoc County

Past Peak – Modoc National Forest- Most of the trees are past their peaks. There may be a few left with some color, but have started to lose their leaves.

Past Peak – Alturas – Trees in this area are at their peak. Not too many leaves left on the trees.

Lassen County

75 – 100% – BLM Eagle Lake – The area of Eagle Lake in Lassen County is reporting trees at their peak! The trees are beautiful with red, orange, and golden leaves. Few are starting to fall!

Shasta County

75 – 100% – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area – The Whiskeytown NRA is at peak with lots of yellow and orange and some red near the visitor’s center.   Near Whiskeytown Falls, the bigleaf maple are brilliant yellow against green conifers.

Redding (11/8/12) Charissa Gilmer

50 – 75% – Redding – The color is most evident near the Sacramento River where bigleaf maple peaking.  In residential areas, look for brilliant shades of red, orange, yellow, and green. Oak trees are providing a show of yellow along winding roads in the green belt. Placer Road is like a dream where brightly colored trees surround a small pond. The sun shines through the trees like a stain glass window off La Paloma Way.

75 – 100% – Trinity County – Trinity County has reached its peak. Most of the trees are at full color, mostly yellow and oranges. Leaves have started to drop!

Tehama County

75% – 100% –  Lassen Volcanic National Park – Manzanita Lake is at 50-75%, with aspen still holding their golden color and Maples turning red.  Pacific dogwoods are turning red.  The main park road is now closed due to snow.  At the southwest entrance near Mineral, there is lots of yellow, still.

30 – 50% – Red Bluff- Red Bluff is showing its varied fall color with orange, red and yellow among native and exotic foliage.  Red Bluff should peak near Thanksgiving Day.

50 – 75% – Butte County – Much of Butte County is approaching peak color with lots of red and yellow. Trees will be hitting their peaks in the next few weeks, especially at Bidwell Park in the City of Trees.

75 – 100% – Plumas County – Look for gold and red colored oaks near Indian Valley and lots of cottonwood still holding their orange-yellow, though today’s winds may reduce the number of leaves on branches.  Until today, the weather has been sunny, but rain and snow should change leaf peeping prospects, shortly.