(9/7/18) In the coming weeks, millions of leaves will begin changing colors across the country.
The website SmokyMountains.com created an interactive map predicting when counties across the country will see peak fall colors.
Slide the bar at the bottom of the map to see the progress of peak foliage across America.
Why do leaves change color?
According to NOAA, it all starts inside the leaf. In the summer, the leaves are green because it is making lots of chlorophyll, which helps plants make energy from sunlight. There are four main pigments in each leaf:
As the days begin to get shorter, the leaves begin to change because the leaves are producing less chlorophyll to prepare for winter. Once this happens, NOAA says the green colors begin to fade and the reds, oranges, and yellows become more visible.
NOAA says changes in local weather conditions can play a role in when leaves will change in your area. A drought or early frost can cause leaves to fall without having the chance to change colors.