Drought conditions affecting fall foliage this year

Mapping out your perfect 2020 leaf peeping trip

ORLANDO, Fla. – When I say fall, what comes to mind? Is it the cooler weather, the pumpkin scent or a lush landscape covered in the fall color pallet of orange, reds and yellows?

If you are a sucker for the changing of leaves, you know the window for the perfect leaf peeping trip needs to be timed out just right.

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But did you know the timing of the colors depends on several different factors? For the perfect vibrant landscape, we need a combination of gradually decreasing temperatures, but with enough moisture in the air to keep the vegetation alive through the fall. If the pendulum swings too far to either side, it could mean an earlier or shorter fall peeping season.

Why are we seeing fall colors earlier this year?

Besides location and cooler temperatures, the vibrant fall color spectrum is also highly dependent on how much rain we’ve had leading up to the season. That has caused some issues, especially this year. For regions out West and in the Northeast, where they drought conditions cover the majority of these areas, they are expecting an unusually early and shorter season.

October 2020

Where are the leaves changing this week?

The weather is quickly changing for our neighbors to our north with fronts delivering cooler and drier air for the past few weeks. For the next week, we are expecting the Rockies, the Northern Midwest and the Northeast to be the best places for leaf peeping.

Through October 12th

When can we expect the fall colors to peak this season?

So, the big question is, what is the perfect time to experience Mother Nature’s fall painting across the country? Check out the predicted peak fall colors map below.

Through November 2nd

You can see we are already passed the peak period in the Rockies and surrounding areas in the west. In the upper midwest and northeast, we can expect the colors to peak in vibrancy in the next three to four weeks. Across the southern half of the country, sporadic colors will be possible with your best chance of colors peaking by early November.

If you are making some last-minute plans to have a socially distant fall foliage trip this 2020 season, make sure to look back at this map so you don’t miss out on that picture-perfect opportunity.

About the Author:

Candace joined the News 6 team as the weekend morning meteorologist and reporter. She comes to Central Florida from Miami.