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Mid-October Predicted for Peak Northern Ohio Colors
Ohio Ag Connection - 09/21/2020

Peak fall color should arrive in northern Ohio in the middle of October, thanks to cooler September temperatures and average rainfall.

The dates for the 2020 fall foliage season will contrast with more recent years, when fall color came late -- as late as mid-November across much of the state last year, according to Jamie Regula, a forester with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

A more traditional October peak season is predicted, thanks to more seasonal late summer weather. Warm days and cool nights are the best ingredients for vibrant color, she said.

According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature in northern Ohio so far this month is 70 degrees, a degree above normal. Last year at this time, the average was 6 degrees above normal, said Cleveland meteorologist Sarah Jamison. In addition, northern Ohio was experiencing the early stages of drought conditions in September 2019; precipitation this year is more than a foot above normal.

Those conditions should result in healthy trees with vibrant color, according to Regula, who is predicting peak color for the northern third of Ohio during the week of Oct. 19, followed by peak color for central and southern Ohio during the week of Oct. 26.

"We'll start seeing patches of color around the end of September in the northeast," she said. "It really won't start transitioning to peak color until mid- to late-October. And that's if the weather continues to do what it's doing."

As in previous years, the department will track color change across Ohio, with color-watchers at state parks, preserves and forests updating an interactive map every week, starting in late September (see fallcolor.ohiodnr.gov).

For fall color forecasts outside Ohio, see the interactive map at tourism site SmokyMountains.com (smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map), which tracks fall change throughout the continental United States. It's already showing some color change in parts of New England, the Upper Midwest and the West.


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