COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Now that we’re starting to feel like fall in Ohio, it’s just a matter of time before we start to look more like fall too.

For some parts of the country, including portions of Ohio, there’s already reports of minimal leaf changes. If you really wanted to see fall foliage this week, the places to go would be up in elevation.

Normally, leaves change color from north to south. And according to David Parrott, fall color forester with Ohio Department of Natural Recourses Division of forestry, this year in Ohio, we’re on track with normal timing for peak leaf changes which means right around Oct. 20, Columbus should reach its peak.

“People might be seeing some spotty patches of trees that are changing.  As we move further into fall, we’re going to see that progress. In Northern Ohio, we’re looking at that peak that’s probably going to occur sometime between October 15-October 20.  For Southern Ohio, we’re looking at between October 20-25, and then for the Central Ohio region, it’s probably right in between there, so around the 20th is when we’re expecting to see the peak this year.”

But, the weather plays a big role on the timing, and whether or not there will even be leaves on the trees to admire.

“Right now this year, we’re about on the normal path, we’re having a relatively average year.  Now, of course what happens between here and the end of fall has a big impact.  We can have big weather events such as wind storms or heavy rains that can knock the leaves off of tees, that can disrupt the whole process.  But, as of right now, we’re looking good and it’s looking like it’s going to be a good year for fall color,”  Parrott said.

So, what do we want?

“Throughout the growing season, we’ve had a good year in terms of precipitation and temperature.  So, now that we’re getting into the fall, what we’d really like to see are the fall days that we all think about: the sunny days, and those cool nights.  Those are the perfect conditions to help the colors really come out of those leaves,” Parrott said.

Shorter amounts of daylight also help to produce the bright color. The reason for this is with less sunlight, less chlorophyll is produced, leading to other pigments like orange, yellow and red in the leaves to be visible instead of green.

No matter where you go to admire the fall color, sometimes you just need an excuse to get outside.

“I always like to say, regardless of what the leaf conditions are, it’s always a good time to get out in nature, and just enjoy what Ohio has to offer.  And if you’re going to do so, always be safe, make sure you stay hydrated, let people know where you’re going, and be sure to look at the weather about what’s coming.  Always be safe when you’re out on the trails to look at the fall colors,” Parrott said.