2022 Fall Foliage Forecast: Peak Color Expected in Northern Ohio Third Week of October

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Fall color, considered dull in much of the state last year, is expected to return to its fiery glory next month, peaking the third week of October in northern Ohio.

State Forester David Parrott said weather patterns in recent months should lead to a more vibrant and normal schedule for fall colors in Ohio in 2022.

“We’re poised for a good year as long as the weather conditions stay right from now on,” said Parrott, a fall color expert for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Last year, he said, a warm, wet fall delayed fall color, especially in the southern half of the state. The trees stayed green until November and then suddenly lost their leaves.

That shouldn’t happen this year, he said. In fact, trees in urban areas and along major roads are already showing some color change, he said.

“We expect a better year than last year,” Parrott said. “I think it’s a good sign that we’re starting to see these changes across the state. At least the process is starting.

He added: “People get very upset if the sheets don’t work. I feel very responsible.

Despite his optimism, he says, Mother Nature remains in control. Extreme weather events – cold, wind, rain, excessive heat or drought – can wreak havoc on fall color.

“What we really want are sunny days and cool, cool evenings,” he said. “It’s the recipe for the best colors possible.”

Doug Kahn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Cleveland, said temperatures over the next two weeks are expected to be below normal, dropping to normal and above normal from early to mid-October. The first part of October can be drier than normal, with average rainfall later in the month.

Peak fall color is expected to arrive in northern Ohio between Oct. 17 and 24, according to Parrott; in central Ohio, peak color is expected between October 21 and 28; and in southern Ohio, October 24 through October 31.

As in previous years, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will track the progress of fall color across the state with weekly updates to its website, fallcolor.ohiodnr.gov. Color observers in Ohio state parks and forests will rate color on a mostly green, changing, near peak, peak, and fade scale.

The site also includes suggestions for fall events, activities, places to stay and more. TourismOhio also launched its Fall in Ohio campaign, featuring hundreds of activities, events and destinations for fall getaways. See ohio.org

To track fall color outside of Ohio, check out the interactive map put together by the tourist site SmokyMountains.com. A slider at the bottom of the map shows how fall color is expected to progress north to south, from Maine to Florida. The site predicts that peak fall color in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, for example, will arrive in mid-October.

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