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From mid-September through October, the leaves on deciduous trees and shrubs along the canyons and creeks of the High Sierra—aspens, cottonwoods, alders and willows—turn gold and orange and red. “The intensity of color is determined by the plant’s response to complex gradients of temperature and moisture,” writes Anne Halford, a botanist with the BLM. “Conditions favoring formation of brilliant autumn color are warm, sunny days followed by cool nights with temperatures below 45º F.” Colors tend to appear at the highest elevations first and work their way downward as the season progresses.
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As the temperatures begin to edge toward cooler ranges and leaves are burnished with gold, most people living in snow country begin to think of powder and how much will blanket our mountains. Here’s a fascinating website that shows snowfall for the past several years and includes a prediction for this coming winter. http://www.onthesnow.com/california/mammoth-mountain-ski-area/historical-snowfall.html?&y=2016
(Find the Forecast Update: Winter 16/17 La Niña Lite on the right side of the page.)