Fall color 2021 running 1 to 2 weeks later than last year

Spectacular maples up north now. Twin Cities peak likely mid-October.

Fall color at Bearhead Lake State Park
Fall color at Bearhead Lake State Park on Sept. 22
Minnesota DNR

It’s getting pretty in parts of northern Minnesota.

Maples are putting on a show now in northeast and northwest Minnesota according to Monday’s fall color update from the Minnesota DNR.

Colors are now near peak in parts of the northeast and northwest. Most of northern Minnesota shows between 25 and 75 percent color. Most of southern Minnesota shows between 10 and 50 percent color.

Fall color report
Fall color report
Minnesota DNR

MPR meteorologist Ron Trenda captured this lovely image from Oberg Mountain above the North Shore.

Oberg Mountain, Sept. 22
Ron Trenda | MPR News

Later fall colors this year

Our warm summer and September this year are likely producing a later fall color change than last year across Minnesota. If you compare Monday’s fall color map to one year ago, you can see the color progression was much further along last year on this date.

Fall colors
Fall color comparison in late September 2020 and 2021
Minnesota DNR

The reason for the later color change compared to last year is likely our warm September temperatures. This summer was the warmest on record for many locations in Minnesota. And this September is running 3.7 degrees warmer in the Twin Cities compared to last year.

It looks like the elusive overall peak color will happen next weekend across much of northern Minnesota. Peak color in the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota looks more likely in mid-October.

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