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Warm start to autumn made for delays in fall foliage

This year’s fall foliage will be patchy compared to last year.

OHIO, USA — Peak fall color starts to make an appearance by the third or second week of October, but not this year.

The National Weather Service in Cleveland captured the same area a year apart to show the lack of color this year.

The beginning of October was unseasonably warm with temperatures in the upper 70s and 80s. Typically average highs for October are in the 60s.

According to Climate Central, our fall season has been on this warming trend with Columbus warming 2.8 degrees since 1970.

The warmer, almost summer-like weather, has halted the change in our leaves. 

Typically, the cooler weather and changes in daylights will initiate the breakdown of chlorophyll and initiate the different fall colors.

This year, the warmer weather has made those colors either none existent or lackluster.

“Our daytime temperatures were a lot warmer than we normally see this time of year. That throws everything off. Fall colors are dependent upon cooler temperatures, shorter days and cooler temperatures, especially at night," said Luke Messinger, the executive director at Dawes Arboretum.

Credit: Climate Central

ODNR foresters have been tracking this year’s fall foliage to find that some colors have changed while others are still green. If we can keep with the cooler temperatures, David Parrott, an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Fall Color Forester still believes that we will see some change.

Credit: ODNR

“There will be areas with fall color, it’s just a matter of they will be isolated, local areas that you will have to wander to. Basically, we aren’t going to have a landscape of fall color."

Parrott said that the best place to see color right now is Mohican State Park, Alum Creek State Park and the Hocking Hills area. You can find the updated ODNR fall foliage report here.