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If you've been planning a trip to check out all those brilliant fall colors in Minnesota, you might have noticed things seem a bit delayed this year. But is Mother Nature really behind schedule this year?

Even if you don't pack the kids in the family truckster and head out on a special drive dedicated to checking out the amazing fall colors that adorn the Land of 10,000 Lakes this time of year, you might have noticed that the really brilliant colors don't seem to be happening yet.

So if it seems like Mother Nature is taking her time setting off those reds and oranges that really pop this year, that's because things ARE behind schedule. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a handy Fall Color Tracker that will tell you just where in the Bold North those brilliant fall colors are on display.

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At this time last year, the vast majority of the state was past peak fall colors, and back in 2021, things were similar, outside of a few areas in far southern Minnesota. But this year, though, the DNR’s map shows far less of the state is past the fall color peak.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
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So what's the reason that the fall color change is late this year? This KSTP-TV story says our warm late summer and early fall are the likely culprits. According to the DNR's Bill  Schwingle, the DNR’s forest health program coordinator:

Day length and temperatures are the two biggest factors in the timing of the fall color change. This year, parts of Minnesota have had warmer than average fall temps, which can push that timing back, KSTP noted.

The DNR went on to explain that other factors-- like the drought conditions much of the state experienced this summer-- likely have also contributed to this fall's delay in those brilliant colors.

The good news, though, is that things ARE finally starting to change across much of the Twin Cities metro and throughout even southern parts of the state, as those brilliant reds and oranges start to appear.

Listen to Curt St. John in the Morning
Weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. on Quick Country 96.5

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Gallery Credit: Curt St. John

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