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Fall foliage up to three weeks late this season, but it’ll be worth the wait

Data pix.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - In the St. Louis metro area, fall foliage typically peaks towards mid to late October, but this year may be different and St. Louis weather may be to blame.

Even with the late arrival, the showcase of colors should be worth the wait. That’s because the sufficient rainfall during the growing season means the trees are healthy.

During the summer, chlorophyll production gives green to the leaf. But with shorter days and less sunlight upon us, this process stops. This is when the yellows, reds, and purples take over.

At this time, you want to see sunny days with cool, crisp nights. With long-range outlooks showing warmer than average temperatures, this could prevent the colors from popping on schedule.

Foliage outlooks show colors peaking closer to November 16.

Many people head to the Great River Road to enjoy the views that rival with New England. Brett Stawar of Great Rivers and Routes watches for the foliage every season.

“This area is really special, it’s unlike any other," he said. "There is nowhere where you can find the beautiful Mississippi River, and this road, and the limestone bluffs that can be found along the way.”

It’s also important that we don’t see heavy rain during the early fall season, because that would soak the leaf, causing it to fall early, and die. Heavy winds can cause similar damage. An early freeze would be detrimental as well.

To visit the Great River Road and view this year's foliage display, you can schedule a tour with the Great Rivers & Routes of Southwest Illinois. For more info on tours, cruises, and bike rides visit greatriversbyway.com.

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