MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tuesday is the official first day of fall and we are already seeing what is probably your favorite sign of the seasons: the firey colors of fall foliage.

“Red, yellowish-red with some pink maples, those are the beautiful ones,” are how St. Paul resident Nirmal Bhattara describes the trees in his neighborhood.

But to many across Minnesota, the fall color season has just begun.

“There’s one that had little bits of the tops and stuff but nothing is really changing yet. I think we still have a way to go,” said James Michaels.

According to Val Cervenka, a Forest Health Consultant with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, it’s a bit of a slow start for central Minnesota.

“Last year it seems like colors were a little bit ahead of this year,” Cervenka explained.

This time last year part of the state had already seen 50-75% color change, but up north it is a different story.

“It looks like it’s happening pretty quickly up north, especially in the arrowhead region and that is because there has been a lot of droughty weather especially in the arrowhead,” said Cervenka.

Parts of the arrowhead are already at 75% color change. While half of the formula for color change in central Minnesota is in the forecast.

“Sunny days help produce sugar which gets trapped in the leaves and it gets trapped in the fall because the leaves veins are starting to close off so the sugars get trapped in there and they combine with other compounds to form the color red,” says Cervenka.

To learn more about some of the best fall color tours and times in the state, click here.

Lisa Meadows