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Looking for autumn? The DNR's fall color finder is live for the season

A break in our stretch of scorching temps has some breaking out the flannel, and turning thoughts to what may be Minnesota's most beautiful season.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Editor's note: The video above first aired on Oct. 3, 2022. 

The passing of the Labor Day holiday means if summer hasn't breathed its last, it soon will be on life support... making way for what some believe is Minnesota's most beautiful season. 

If you're among them and want to see as much fall foliage as you can, the Minnesota DNR is ready to help. The outdoor agency has launched its 2023 Fall Color Finder, featuring a constantly updated map that reflects where and when leaf colors are peaking. 

The finder also has a list of popular spots across the state to look at leaves, accompanied by current color conditions. 

As of Sept. 6, only a small part of far northwestern Minnesota is showing any color change, and the map says that region has reached only 10 to 25% of peak color. 

And just what is it that makes leaves change from verdant green to crimson, orange and yellow? The DNR says it is the interaction of four main groups of biochemicals that are impacted by less sunlight (shorter days) and dropping temps. 

The timing of this year's color changeover has another variable: Minnesota's ongoing drought conditions. Lack of moisture causes significant stress on trees, causing their leaves to change color and fall to the ground earlier than normal. 

Some trees get so dry, and so stressed that their leaves don't even experience a colorful period, instead just browning up and falling off the branches. 

In talking about Minnesota's fall colors recently, KARE 11 meteorologist Ben Dery said he expects them to peak in northern Minnesota as early as mid-September, while the changeover in the Twin Cities should occur in late September to mid-October.


Download the free KARE 11+ app for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and other smart TV platforms to watch more from KARE 11 anytime! The KARE 11+ app includes live streams of all of KARE 11's newscasts. You'll also find on-demand replays of newscasts; the latest from KARE 11 Investigates, Breaking the News and the Land of 10,000 Stories; exclusive programs like Verify and HeartThreads; and Minnesota sports talk from our partners at Locked On Minnesota. 

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