Fall colors feel only slight drought impact - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fall colors feel only slight drought impact

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

As the leaves start changing color this time of year, local economies look forward to the boost of fall tourism.

Some people, however, question whether this summer's drought will impact the intensity or duration of the autumn colors.

Steve Pregler is a city forester for Dubuque. He said some trees suffered in the drought, but the overall impact on fall foliage will be small.

"A lot of the leaves have scorched and discolored and even have been lost prematurely, and so, you know, that's going to be a contributing factor to the overall, you know, aesthetic appearance of everything," Pregler said.

For the other trees, he said, coloration will continue as normal.

Dubuque's Eagle Point Park, with its scenic view of the Mississippi River, is a popular stop for leaf-lookers this time of year.

Friday afternoon, Nancy and Dave Gonia enjoyed the sights there. They traveled from their home outside Milwaukee to the tri-state area this week for some fall tourism.

"The trees have been beautiful. They're just starting to turn. We were over at Galena and then down to Dubuque," Nancy Gonia said. "It's starting to get colorful. It's just a few oranges and yellows in among the greens, but it's beautiful. The colors are nice."

Pregler said the weather lately has been helping the color-changing process along.

"Our best leaf color are when we have the nice, warm, sunny, bright days and then...the temperatures drop down real cold at night but without freezing," Pregler said.

However, he said dry weather during the turning of the leaves is good, as constant rainfall can wash out the leaves' colors.

The peak of fall colors, Pregler said, is likely still a week or two out, meaning visitors to eastern Iowa have plenty of leaf-looking ahead.

The Iowa DNR said oak trees are still pretty green right now in eastern Iowa. The colors now are coming from the maple, ash, elm, cottonwood, walnut, sumac and hickory trees, with plenty of color yet to come.

Travel Iowa has a map of scenic byways for leaf-lookers on its Website.

The Iowa DNR has more information about fall colors and timing HERE.

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