By Ray Petelin

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With the cooler temperatures, we are going to start seeing more and more changes in leaf colors around the area.

That is probably one of the biggest signs of Autumn.

As temperatures drop, chlorophyll in the leaves begins to break down. This process leaves behind other natural chemicals that lead to the different colors we see.

Photo Credit: KDKA

Obviously, green leaves are green because of the chlorophyll. Once that starts to break down, the other chemicals left behind are responsible for certain colors.

Xanthophyll creates the yellow hues, carotene brings out the oranges, and anthocyanin is responsible for the reds.

Sometimes, you will also notice that the fall colors are not vivid.

Weather is the big factor in how bright autumn’s leaves become!

One BIG ingredient is dry weather late in the summertime.

That is actually a box we can check.

While we are above average for the month of September, that was due to one day.

If you remember September first, we accumulated over three inches of rain.

Most of that resulted in runoff, so I don’t think that one event will hurt our color chances.

August was a dry month, too. We had an inch less than average, that month.

So, what does the weather have to do from here to bring the bright fall colors that everyone loves?

Sunny days and cool nights are the only ingredients left. Cool weather seems a little hard to come by lately, but we haven’t even started October yet, so let’s keep our hopes up!