Fall color show: Weather whips up a treat for leaf peepers this year - Omaha.com
Published Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 8:50 am
Fall color show: Weather whips up a treat for leaf peepers this year

Bursts of red and yellow among the trees and classic autumn weather in the forecast can mean only one thing: It's time to hit the road for a fall color show.

Eric Berg, urban and community forestry leader with the Nebraska Forest Service, said recent cool nights, sunny, warm days and abundant rains have been working in favor of good color this year. That's an improvement over last year, when severe drought caused some trees to drop leaves prematurely.

“Compared to what we've had in the last couple of years, it's shaping up to be good fall color,” he said.

So far, sumac and ivy have been providing the displays of red. Ash and, to a lesser extent, cottonwoods are delivering much of the yellow.

Fall colors this year are a week or two behind schedule — likely a result of spring's late start, the relatively cool summer and lack of an early freeze, Berg said. Recent rains will help the leaves hang on a bit longer.

“If we can just keep the wind away, we'll be set,” he said.

With the seasonal, north-south progression of colors, parks officials in northern areas of Nebraska and Iowa report good color, while those in areas south of Omaha say the best fall show still is a week or so away.

Within the Omaha-Council Bluffs area, good viewing will be found in the older parts of the cities, notably parks and cemeteries.

Northeast of the metro is one of the region's premiere viewing areas – Iowa's Preparation Canyon State Park, with its Loess Hills overlook. This park sits within the 200-mile-long spine of the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway, which stretches from north of Sioux City to near St. Joseph, Mo.

“We've got some really good colors now and we're kind of in our peak now, probably all the way into next week,” said Brent Olson, area forester with the Loess Hills State Forest.

Reports on a few popular leaf-peeping sites:

• Northeast Nebraska: Ponca State Park: Reds in full force, yellows beginning to show, plenty of green for contrast.

• estern Iowa: Loess Hills State Forest, including Preparation Canyon State Park, Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County: Yellows and oranges, some reds in canopy; prairie ridges are golden brown.

• Omaha metro: Elmwood and Fontenelle Parks, Omaha Public Power District Arboretum, Metropolitan Community College, Fort Omaha campus, Forest Lawn Cemetery.

• South of the metro, Nebraska and Iowa: Leaf change is about a week or so away at Waubonsie State Park, the Nebraska City area and Indian Cave State Park.

• Regionally: Any older park or arboretum, especially any Nebraska Statewide Arboretum site, such as the Bessey District of the Nebraska National Forest, near Halsey.


Current conditions and forecast

Contact the writer: Nancy Gaarder

nancy.gaarder@owh.com    |   402-444-1102    |  

Nancy writes about weather, including a blog, Nancy's Almanac. She enjoys explaining the science behind weather and making weather stories relevant in daily life.

Man, 21, shot in ankle while walking near 30th, U Streets
State Department moves to delay Keystone XL pipeline decision
Omahan charged in fatal shooting in Benson neighborhood
Friday's attendance dips at Millard West after bathroom threat
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
Crack ring's leaders join others in prison as a result of Operation Purple Haze
High court denies death row appeal of cult leader convicted of murder
Haze in area comes from Kansas, Oklahoma
Man taken into custody in domestic dispute
Omaha judge reprimanded for intervening in peer attorney's DUI case
Intoxicated man with pellet gun climbs billboard's scaffold; is arrested
Police seek public's help in finding an armed man
Saturday forecast opens window for gardening; Easter egg hunts look iffy on Sunday
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Last day of 2014 Legislature: Praise, passage of a last few bills and more on mountain lions
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
A voice of experience: Ex-gang member helps lead fight against Omaha violence
Church is pressing its case for old Temple Israel site
OPPD board holding public forum, open house May 7
The thrill of the skill: Omaha hosts statewide contest for students of the trades
A recap of what got done — and what didn't — in the 2014 legislative session
When judge asks, Nikko Jenkins says ‘I killed them’
Nancy's Almanac, April 17, 2014: Trees save money
'The war is not over,' Chambers says, but legislative session about is
PAC funded by Senate candidate Ben Sasse's great-uncle releases Shane Osborn attack ad
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Breaking Brad: At least my kid never got stuck inside a claw machine
We need a new rule in Lincoln. If your kid is discovered inside the claw machine at a bowling alley, you are forever barred from being nominated for "Mother of the Year."
Breaking Brad: How many MECA board members can we put in a luxury suite?
As a stunt at the Blue Man Group show, MECA board members are going to see how many people they can stuff into one luxury suite.
Kelly: Creighton's McDermotts put good faces on an Omaha tradition
A comical roast Wednesday night in Omaha brought fans of Creighton basketball laughter by the bucketful. This time it was McJokes, not McBuckets, that entertained the Bluejay crowd.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »