Sep 23, 2022 - News

🍁 Our fall foliage forecast

A green map of the U.S. showing fall color predictions at the top in red, orange and yellow
The fall foliage outlook for next week, according to smokymountains.com. Image courtesy of David Angotti

Temperatures are dropping, it's getting darker earlier and the smell of pumpkin spice has been wafting from coffee shops for weeks.

Yes, but: No matter what the calendar says, for us it's not officially fall until the leaves change.

State of play: Central Ohio should start seeing pops of color next week, according to the foliage prediction map from smokymountains.com.

  • Color should peak by Oct. 24 for about a week. By Halloween, it'll start to dull.

The intrigue: That is, if our always unpredictable weather cooperates.

  • Last year's unseasonably warm fall convinced many trees it was still summer well into October. A delayed display of reds, yellows and oranges appeared only briefly before winter struck.

How it works: As the days shorten and temperatures drop, trees sense winter is coming and stop producing chlorophyll, their green pigment that turns light into food.

  • The remaining pigments let leaves show their true colors.

What they're saying: "Sunny days and cool nights, that's the key recipe for the best fall colors," David Parrott, fall color forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, tells Axios.

  • Mostly normal summer rainfall helps too, so this fall's forecast is "looking very good."

What we're watching: ODNR publishes a fall color progress map to help with planning leaf-peeping trips. They'll start posting weekly video updates next week, Parrott says.

🍂 Our favorite fall spots:

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