Look around...notice anything different? Fall has officially arrived in East Texas, and our deciduous trees are starting to shower us with their beautiful color displays.

There are many, many miles of roads in East Texas, and if you drive them a lot like me, you are often greeted with great scenery to help pass those long stretches from one place to the next. As I was traveling this past weekend, I began to notice the subtle hints that nature is about to burst forth with beautiful fall colors for all to enjoy.

Spring and Fall are the two seasons I look forward to the most during these road trips because they offer the most mesmerizing spectrum of colors that nature offers. In spring, the dogwood trees and azaleas burst with new life with their white, pink and purple hues, beautifully contrasted against the greening grass. Then in fall, we are showered with darker, richer reds and yellows and oranges as the trees shed their leaves before resting for winter.

What Makes Some Years More Colorful?

Have you ever wondered why some years fall colors are heartbreakingly beautiful and others leaves seem to go straight to brown? Fall color intensity is connected to weather conditions the entire year.

Chlorophyll, the substance plants use to make their own food through photosynthesis makes leaves green. As fall days have shorter and shorter periods of daylight and the temperatures start to drop, the trees make less chlorophyll.

The orange pigments you see in fall are always there, they just don't show because they're overpowered by chlorophyll. You'll almost always see orange during fall. However, red pigments are triggered by weather change as chlorophyll production wanes.

When fall has mild days and the temperature gradually drops at night, you get brilliant red leaves. When we have an early frost those reds never develop.

A dry year can also suppress fall brilliance. If spring came late or summer included an extended drought, the trees suffered.

What Will This's Fall Colors Year Be Like?

With the amount of rain we've recently received, our chances are awesome that we will see a stunning visual display as the season peaks. Be on the lookout as experts predict East Texas fall colors will peak within the next few days (Nov. 12-16), as shown in this interactive fall foliage map.

So in the hustle and bustle of your every day life, don't forget to stop for a quick nature break. Here are some of the stretches of road where you can view the upcoming visual displays:

  • Hwy 69 from Tyler to Jacksonville. Stop at Love's Lookout and you'll be able to see this display for miles.
  • Hwy 271 from Gladewater to Gilmer. You'll appreciate the slower speed limit, it'll give you more viewing time.
  • Hwy 155 from Gilmer to Ore City. There are lots of hills in full color.
  • Hwy 64 East. A very beautiful display.

I'm sure there are many other areas where nature will show off, if you know of any I missed, drop them in the comments and I'll add to this list.

Missy Ticer contributed to this story.

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