Get Excited for Fall With This Interactive Peak Foliage Map

Kirkikis/iStock via Getty Images
Kirkikis/iStock via Getty Images

The season of scarves, sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything is almost upon us. No matter how you feel about the end of summer, it's hard not appreciate the colorful foliage when it reaches its peak in autumn. Those red, orange, and gold leaves may be visible outside your window sooner than you think; the interactive map below from SmokyMountains.com shows you exactly when to expect them.

Fall foliage normally peaks sometime after the autumnal equinox, which falls on September 23 in 2019, but exactly when depends on variables like rainfall and temperature. Each year, the tourism website SmokyMountains.com looks at weather forecasts and historical trends from NOAA and puts together an interactive map showing when foliage is predicted peak across contiguous U.S.

Warmer temperatures have led to peak foliage occurring later in the season. In 2019, Northern New England, a place famous for its leaf-peeping, will see the brightest leaves around October 5. Peak foliage won't reach the rest of New England until October 12. Around October 26, parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon, and Illinois will be treated to the most spectacular leaves of the season, and in Southern states like South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, peak foliage won't begin until November 9. By November 30, the fall foliage will have passed its peak everywhere but along the Gulf coast.

By sliding the scale beneath the map, you can see when foliage is expected to peak in your part of the of the country. You can also use the tool to plan trips around the changing leaves.

"We believe this interactive tool will enable travelers to take more meaningful fall vacations, capture beautiful fall photos, and enjoy the natural beauty of autumn," Wes Melton, the site's data scientist and CTO, said in a statement. "Our nationwide fall foliage prediction map is unique—it is one of the only fall leaf tools that provides accurate predictions for the entire continental United States."

If you can't pick just one destination to take in the foliage this fall, you don't have to—a train ride or a road trip are some of the best ways to see as much of it as possible.

The One-Day Record Snowfalls In Each State

Greenseas/iStock via Getty Images
Greenseas/iStock via Getty Images

Long after you’ve grown out of believing in magic, every thick, whirling snowstorm still seems to have been cast upon your town by a winter warlock (or Frozen’s resident ice queen, Elsa).

It’s also pretty magical when those inches of stacked snowflakes add up to a message from your manager telling you not to come into the office. In southern states like Georgia or Florida, sometimes all it takes is a light dusting.

But even those characteristically balmy places have hosted some serious snowstorms over the years, and David Cusick for House Method crunched the numbers to find out which ones made the record books. Using data from the National Centers for Environmental Information, Cusick created a map showing the one-day record snowfall for each state.

Florida finished in last place with a scant total of 4 inches, which occurred in Santa Rosa County on March 6, 1954. About two years before that, on January 14, 1952, Colorado had a staggering 76 inches—that’s more than 3 inches per hour—a national record that’s remained unchallenged for nearly 70 years.

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But other states have come close. The snowstorm that hit Colorado in 1952 wreaked almost as much havoc in California, whose record from the same day was 75 inches. And Washington saw 70 inches of snow in November 1955, beating its 52-inch record from 1935 by a full 18 inches.

Though Midwestern states have gained a reputation for harsh, snowy winters, their one-day record snowfalls are surprisingly moderate. The Illinois and Indiana records are 24 and 26 inches, respectively, both slightly lower than Ohio’s 30-inch snow day from 1901. In 1993, North Carolina bested Ohio’s record by 6 inches.

Wondering how your individual county’s record compares to the overall state one? Cusick created a map for that, too, which you can explore below.

Made with Flourish

[h/t House Method]

Google Home vs. Alexa: Which Smart Device Does Your State Prefer?

Todd Williamson, Getty Images
Todd Williamson, Getty Images

If you're thinking of buying a loved one a smart home device for the holidays, you're likely considering two options: Google Home ($70)—a series of smart speakers from the tech giant—and Amazon Echo ($80)—which features the virtual voice assistant Alexa. You could do hours of research weighing the pros and cons of each gadget, or you could pick one based on where your giftee lives. The map below from ASecureLife.com breaks down where each state falls in the Google Home versus Alexa debate.

Map of Google Home vs. Alexa searches.
ASecureLife.com

To create the graphic, the home security company analyzed Google trends data related to searches for Google Home and Amazon Alexa in October 2019. The two terms are fairly evenly matched: Google Home just edges out Alexa with 51 percent of the total search volume nationwide compared to Alex's 49 percent.

The two devices are also spread out across the map. On the West Coast, California and Washington prefer Google, while Oregon likes Alexa. In the South, Alexa dominates Florida, Alabama, and North Carolina, while Google takes Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. New England is split between the two: Google wins New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and Alexa tops searches in Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont. You can check out the full map above.

Google Home and Amazon Echo share a lot of the same capabilities, like connecting with the internet and other devices to set the thermostat, turn off the lights, play music, and answer questions. If your home state's search trends aren't enough to convince you to choose one over the other, you may have to look at more obscure details, such as which one is better at understanding accents and which has the best jokes.

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