How a rainy spring and summer will impact fall colors

The weather will impact when we see fall colors and the colors themselves.

Posted: Sep 17, 2019 7:32 AM
Updated: Sep 17, 2019 11:17 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Fall is the second biggest tourism season for Minnesota with people coming from all over to look at the fall colors. 

But the wet weather from earlier in the year may play a role on what tourists will see this year. 

"I'm ready for fall, ready for fall colors," Linda Hanson of Rochester said. 

"I'm looking forward to fall, I love the fall," Bhavana Shivu of Rochester said. 

"Soaking up summer, ready for fall, but not winter," another Rochester citizen said. 

Ready or not, the change of seasons is coming. It's coming with some differences because of the wet summer and spring in the area. 

According to The National Weather Service, from March 2019-August 2019, Rochester saw about 32.82 inches of rain. It is the second wettest period of that like in the Med City since 1990! 

University of Minnesota Extension Educator of Forestry, Angela Gupta, explained this wet weather will impact when we see fall colors. 

"It turns out weather is very impactful to fall colors and we've had all kinds of crazy weather," she said. "I think some of our fall colors may be delayed because we had such a late spring."

In addition to causing a late turn in colors, the weather will also affect the colors themselves. 

Gupta said the recent rainfall may have taken away some pigment in the purple and deep red leaves. 

"We may see fewer of those reds and deep purples," she said. 

But good news for tourists coming to see the fall foliage, Gupta said the rain may also bring extra vibrant oranges and yellows. 

"I'll have to see for myself if those colors are prettier," Shivu said. 

"The oranges and the yellows are just gorgeous. Would've been better without the rain, but if it means colors, okay," Hanson said. 

Gupta expects fall colors to be out in full force come mid to late October. The few trees that are starting to change colors now, Gupta explained, are trees that are stressed. 

To follow the changing colors throughout the state, subscribe to Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's weekly color update and finder here. 

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