Why we’re seeing more vibrant fall colors this year

The science behind brilliant fall color.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

There’s no denying it, we are seeing some of the best and most vibrant fall colors in years here in the Miami Valley and Tri-State areas.

And while every fall has its array of oranges, yellows, reds and browns, this year’s color display is definitely one to photograph.

But why is the color so much more vivid? Of course, there’s a scientific answer to it and I’ve got it for you.

It comes down to moisture and temperature.


The amount of rain greatly influences how vibrant our fall color turns out each year. But it’s not the rain trend we are seeing currently but instead the rain trends of the summer. After wet summers, trees are at their healthiest and it gives leaves a better setup for good fall color. We indeed saw a wet summer. We had 7.91″ of rain in August and it was the 3rd wettest on record for Cincinnati! Even July had above average precipitation.


The other critical element for good fall color is temperature. When we get clear, warm afternoons followed by chilly nights, the color amplifies in our leaves. Our recent dry spell and low levels of humidity have set the stages for mild, sunny afternoons and colder nights. This past weekend was a perfect example of that.

WCPO is a content partner of Cox First Media, which includes Dayton Daily News, Journal-News, Springfield News-Sun and Dayton.com.

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