(WJHL) — The shorter days of the fall season along with cooler air means it is time for our annual fall color season.

A sea of green will transform into a multitude of vibrant colors around the region during the month of October. Weather conditions play a key part in reaching the best color during the next few weeks.

Current weather conditions can either dampen the color or enhance the fall color. Days that are sunny and mild will tend to bring out vibrant colors. The chilly nights also play a role in the color change as temperatures that remain above freezing are ideal, while an early-season freeze can shorten the life of the color season.

In addition to current weather impacting the color season, previous seasons like summer can also influence how ideal the fall color will be. Given our summer weather conditions, despite the brief dry and hot period we experienced, the overall precipitation was near average through the summer months of June, July and August. Any extreme hot and dry summer can stress the trees, limiting the future fall color change.

Forecasting peak fall color can be tricky, but given the latest conditions, expect the color to really start to show especially in the high elevations of our region.

Fall Foliage Mountains Peak Color

Southwest Virginia will see a later peak, mainly in mid to late October. Higher elevations will see peak color sooner compared to a later peak color in late October.

Fall Foliage Southwest Virginia Peak Color

Tri-Cities can expect peak color in late October extending into early November.

Fall Foliage Tri-Cities Peak Color

These color forecasts can change now that we are in the fall season. Any significant high wind or rain event can negatively affect the color. Also, any significant freeze will shorten the life of the fall color. So, given our fall climate, we can hope for sunny and mild days and clear and cool nights that will certainly maximize this year’s fall color.

Storm Team 11 Forecast

Given the varying weather conditions, some weeks may be better than others to view the fall color. Be sure to follow the latest Storm Team 11 forecast throughout the fall season.