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Fall is in the air, and in the leaves. Expert explains why

The South isn't necessarily known for its fall leaves, but we're definitely seeing some more color here in Central Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas — Have you taken a look at the fall foliage popping up around Central Texas recently? That pop of fall colors in the leaves appears to be hitting its peak time this December.

Experts say it almost didn't happen. So what changed?

It was actually a combination of two things: cold and rain, and all of it happening in one month.

We all know we had a very dry spring and summer. Because of that, the Texas A&M Forest Service said it was expecting a less-than-spectacular fall foliage season. Then, in November, temperatures fell and we got rain. 

Throughout the year, the leaves on trees are green because of chlorophyll.

"Less chlorophyll reveals some of the other pigments we see in the leaves, like the pigment responsible for the yellow color, that's carotenoids. And then also combined that as well with that cooler weather and more rain you also get an increased production in anthocyanin, and that's the red color,” said Alison Baylis with the Forest Service.

Now, if you think it is late to see the fall colors this late in the year, Baylis said it is fairly common for the colors to hit their peak right around Thanksgiving.

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