Hot Summer Takes Toll On Fall Color

DNR: Colors Will Be Vivid, But Short-Lived

Indiana's hot, dry summer will take its toll on fall color, but there should still be plenty to see if leaf peepers time it right, experts said.

The Department of Natural Resources predicts that unless the state sees a good amount of rain soon, the peak for colorful trees will be early, starting now in southern Indiana and ending in mid-October up north, 6News' Chris Pisano reported.

"What you're seeing is early on, walnuts, for example, typically will turn yellow then brown and drop very quickly. Sycamore, tulip, it's not unusual to see them drop early," said Sam Carman, DNR education director. "But the sugar maples, the sweet gum, black gum, I think they'll go through their normal progression of color."

Fall is the second-busiest tourism time in Indiana, due in large part to the brilliant autumn colors.

"I think we are slightly concerned because of the lack of rain that we won't have quite the vivid color that we've had in some years, so I think we are making an extra effort to get the word out early to people," said Amy Vaughan, director of the Indiana Office of Tourism.

But Carman said he believes the color will be there, just as long as leaf peepers don't procrastinate.

"If it continues to be dry like it has been, based on experience from past years, I think we will see very vivid colors, but they won't last long," he said.

Drought Declared

A new report from the National Weather Service has classified nearly half of Indiana as under severe or moderate drought.

The drought survey issued Thursday found the driest conditions across the state's southeastern counties, although moderate drought extends through the Indianapolis area northeast to the Muncie area. What the weather service called "abnormally dry" conditions stretched all the way to the state line with Michigan.

The state climatologist said he doesn't expect Indiana's prolonged dry spell to end anytime soon as the state is stuck in a weather pattern that could continue for weeks.

The state Department of Homeland Security reports that open burning bans have been issued in more than 50 of Indiana's 92 counties.

More Information: Indiana Leaf Cams