MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s been one of the more colorful falls many of us can remember.

The trees got their colors early, and many are still showing vivid oranges and yellows that we haven’t seen in years.

Some parts of the state are just hitting their peak now.

“I think this year it’s been an extended course in beauty,” Jeremy Britzius, of Minneapolis, said.

The trees really seem to be the canvases for Mother Nature’s paint brush; creating streets of gold and front yards of orange.

For leaves to pop this much a lot of factors have to come into play in a relatively short amount of time.

“That combination of sunny days and cool nights has been optimal for these colors,” WCCO chief meteorologist Chris Shaffer said.

Shaffer is also a self-proclaimed science geek.

He said a wet June helped get things started.

“In the month of June we were over 7 inches above average. And that’s one of the key ingredients. To have that moist soil for these trees to thrive,” Shaffer said.

Unlike previous years, drought concerns were a non-factor.

And it’s really what we didn’t have this summer that created all this fall color.

“We only had two days where it was 90 degrees or warmer. We average like, 14. So we didn’t have the extreme heat that would hurt the system as well so that helped,” Shaffer said.

And up until Wednesday, there hasn’t been much rain or wind to knock the leaves off the trees. Allowing them to hang around and show their true colors.

“This is the color they actually are but the chlorophyll process that happens all summer long makes them that green color. When that shuts down, you start to see the natural leaf colors which are the yellows and oranges and reds,” Shaffer said.

John Lauritsen

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