Weather Wise: Fall foliage is on its way

Posted at 2:08 PM, Sep 27, 2016

CINCINNATI -- We've finally made it to the fall season, and now it even feels a little bit like autumn outside.

The weather won't be the only thing changing in the coming months: The leaves soon will be turning vibrant shades of reds, oranges and yellows, too!

Some areas of the country are more likely to be treated to a masterpiece than others, and a lot of that can be attributed to the months leading up to the falling foliage.

A lack of rainfall, or in extreme cases, a drought, can have a huge impact on the changing leaves' vibrancy and duration. We've seen slightly below-average rainfall through the month of September, but for the entire year, we're luckily still well above average.

Our surplus is a little more than 2 inches here in the Queen City, and that should be plenty to make this year a great one for nature lovers, arboreal admirers and photographers alike.

Not everyone is quite as lucky. Drought conditions are plaguing much of the United States, stretching from the New England states, down Appalachia and into the Deep South. These areas likely are seeing stressed trees, which will likely both produce less color and produce it for a shorter duration than normal.

Here in the Tri-State, colorful fall foliage typically peaks by mid-October, but due to our rain surplus, it likely will reach a crescendo in mid- to late October this year, and the leaves will likely hang on for just a little longer than normal as well.

The only way that forecast will change would be nasty weather before the leaves change, more specifically: FROST. An early, hard freeze can halt the color-changing process before it begins as trees immediately switch over to survival mode.

Wind and rain also can knock the leaves off the branches prematurely.

Outside of those minimal threats, our current foliage forecast points towards a vivid display in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.