By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer

BOSTON (CBS) — Fall is such a terrific time to live in or visit New England. The parade of color from north to south provides hikers and weekend warriors with so many great destinations to choose from in September and October.

Weather, of course, plays a major role not only in the plans for those looking for a weekend hike or drive but also in the timing and vibrancy of foliage colors each year.

Temperature and moisture are both very important in the weeks and months leading up to fall foliage season. This year, the current drought will be the main driving factor.

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Drought can be good and bad for fall color. The soil is very dry right now and trees are stressed. This typically leads to an earlier and quicker foliage season. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean less color! Drought and abundant sunshine often leads to more red leaves (as opposed to oranges and yellows).

The recent chilly weather (and numerous frosts up north) is great news for foliage. The cold air often brings out terrific colors, even in dry conditions. We have already seen this in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

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This current burst of color in northern New England will likely be slowed a bit in the coming days with warmer (summer-like) temperatures in the forecast through the weekend. But, if you are willing to take a longer drive, you can see some great color this weekend!

Recommended Drives this Weekend:

New Hampshire: Splashes of color are spouting up all over northern New Hampshire. Check out Route 16 along the Androscoggin River and areas around Dixville Notch. Also the highest peaks of the White Mountains are starting to report decent color as well.

Vermont: As mentioned above, the Northeast Kingdom has already reported some terrific color. Typically one of the earliest areas in New England to turn, this region is a bucket list for sure for foliage lovers.

Maine: Areas in Maine reporting significant color change include; Northeastern Maine, including Fort Kent, Caribou, and Presque Isle. . . Northwestern Maine. . . Western Mid-Maine, including Greenville, Rangeley and Bethel.

Want to stay local? Head to the far northwestern suburbs, around 495 and beyond into Worcester county. You’ll need to look for low lying, marshy areas which are always the first to change. Not an easy find, but great for early season picture taking!

As always, we would love to see your New England foliage pics! Send them along to weather@cbsboston.com! Happy hunting!

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ

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