EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s almost that time of year again: New Englanders will soon start seeking out the changing colors of the leaves. So how is this year’s foliage shaping up?

The summer brought very warm and extreme drought conditions to much of the area. Dr. Brian Maynard from the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Plant Sciences and Entomology told 12 News September’s heavy rainfall came at just the right time to save the fall foliage season.

“I am thinking that this rain that we’ve gotten in just the last few weeks, we’re actually going to be pretty good for fall color,” Maynard said.

Maynard expects this year’s peak color will be on time as long as we see some clear days and cool nights. He added that the lack of nor’easters or tropical systems also helps as more leaves remain on the trees.

Although the peak of fall foliage in Southern New England occurs on average in mid to late October, Maynard says climate change could have an impact on the timing of peak colors over time.

“I suspect with global warming, we might potentially see our fall color come a week or two later,” he said.

How does weather impact fall foliage?

If you want a beautiful array of fall foliage, you won’t want a dry and hot summer.


Lack of rain can not only harden the ground and tree branches, but also cause leaves to become brittle and stiff. As a result, some could fall prematurely with little color.


With an abundance of rainfall, foliage would occur sooner and also show off some bright colors. Leaves would receive the proper nutrients needed.


Warm weather, during both days and nights, would cause for a delay in the peak of fall foliage. Cool nights and warm days would set up an on-time foliage.


If a cooler summer were to occur, the timing of foliage would begin sooner and the coloration may not be as prominent to typical years. Cooler days and nights would most likely lead to a very early beginning of fall foliage.