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

BOSTON (CBS) – Fall is such an exceptional time in New England. The deep blue skies, vibrant colors of our changing landscape and dry, sunshine filled days make it all the more enjoyable.

The weather this fall has been nothing short of spectacular. We haven’t had a drop of rain on a Saturday or Sunday the entire month of September or October. In fact, we have barely had an inch of total rainfall since September 1!

In a typical year, a dry fall stretch wouldn’t really be a source of concern. This year however, the dry fall is coming on the heels of several consecutive dry months, going all the way back to May. Boston is currently running more than 10 inches below the yearly average rainfall to date (about 3 months’ worth).

We have seen “abnormally dry” conditions in early summer quickly deteriorate into “extreme drought”, which now covers more than 1/3 of the state of Massachusetts.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

It isn’t just our state either. Large portions of New Hampshire and Maine have now reached “extreme drought” and nearly every corner of New England is now in some sort of drought designation.

Ten inches of water is not an easy deficit to climb out of by any means. The quickest way out this time of year would be with some sort of tropical system (not always something to wish for however). And, what do you know, Hurricane Delta is set to make landfall in Louisiana on Friday and it now appears as though some of its remnants will make their way to New England early next week. I think the best we can hope for here is that we can squeeze an inch or two of water out as the fragmented remains of Delta get absorbed into a frontal system here later Monday and Tuesday.

After that, it remains to be seen whether we can transition into a wetter pattern or not, it does look like another warmup is coming later next week.

This lack of water has played a large role in this year’s foliage season as well. For the most part, the colors have come about 1-2 weeks earlier than normal this fall.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

If you are planning on some leaf peeping this holiday weekend, here is the latest:

Northern New England:
(including most of the White and Green Mountain areas)

Most of the vibrant reds are gone up north, either blown off the trees by the recent wind storm or now muted into a post-peak rusty orange or yellow. There are some remaining bright spots here and there but largely about a week past prime.

Central New England:
(including southern Vermont, Monadnock and Lakes Region)

This area is now largely in peak color, albeit with some leaf drop after Wednesday night’s wind event. This weekend would be a terrific time to travel west to the Berkshires or north to the Monadnock or Lake Winni regions. There is also a second wave of color now happening in coastal and parts of interior Maine as well.

Southern New England:

Closer to home the reviews are mixed. Some trees have peaked and shed already while many others are still green. The absolute peak is probably another week away for the suburbs and two weeks away for coastal areas. I don’t think there is any doubt that overall we are also ahead of schedule here in eastern Mass. and will see leaf drop about 1-to-2 weeks earlier than what is typical.

You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ.

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