PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — New England is known for its foliage, but no two autumns are the same. There are a number of conditions that affect how vibrant the colors are each fall.

“It can change from year to year, really depending on the weather,” 12 News Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo said.

When it comes to weather, the United States Forest Service (USFS) says temperature and moisture are the biggest influences on color. Trees need enough warmth and water in the spring and summer to thrive.

In the fall, sunny days coupled with cool nights make for the best results.

Last year, a dry summer lead to less vibrant colors. This year, New Englanders can probably expect a better display from Mother Nature.

A dog with curly grey fur is surrounded by brown and yellow leaves on the ground.
Leaves on the ground on Aug. 24, 2022.

“If you get enough rain, trees can stay healthy,” Del Santo said. Unlike last year, we had very little rain and the trees went brown with not much in the way of color.”

Rhode Island has had more rain that usual this year, but there’s sunshine on the way that could help bring out the best colors fall has to offer.

“If we keep having these cloudy days, that could impact it, but I think we’ve got a nice little sunny stretch ahead that will help things become more vibrant,” Del Santo explained.

So when is the best time to go leaf peeping? The USFS says it’s really a guessing game. Generally, colors in New England start to show in late September, but the peak viewing won’t come until sometime in October.

Del Santo predicts the peak to be on the later side.

“I’ve been noticing the peak has been getting a little bit later every year, closer to Halloween,” he said.

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