ST. PAUL, Minn. — Stop complaining about all that summer rain. It’s about to help deliver a spectacular fall.

Adequate rainfall nearly statewide combined with lots of summer sunshine point to a beautiful fall leaf season in Minnesota, the state Department of Natural Resources said Thursday as it launched its annual fall color finder map.

Rainfall and sunshine throughout the summer months determine the depth of color each fall in Minnesota. Temperatures also come into play — an early freezing frost can cut short fall color, the agency noted.

“A light frost at the start of the color season actually helps produce vivid color,” Kao Thao, a naturalist with Fort Snelling State Park, said in a statement. “During those summers when we experience a severe drought, colors are dulled somewhat. But we had plenty of rain and there’s always plenty of sunlight, so the leaf season at Fort Snelling State Park should be beautiful.”

The west-central and northwestern parts of Minnesota saw less rain this summer than the metro area, although, sometimes less rain (not counting drought conditions) can increase the color display, the DNR said.

Generally, colors peak between mid-September and early October in the northern third of Minnesota, between late September and early October in the central third of the state, and between late September and mid-October in the southern third, which includes the Twin Cities, the agency added.

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