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

BOSTON (CBS) – It ain’t over ’til it’s over! And the fall foliage season in New England is not over yet.

This season has been rather hit or miss thanks to our ongoing drought. Over the last several weeks, we have had numerous reports of amazing, vibrant colors, and just as many folks disappointed by early leaf drop and rusty leaf tones.

Drought causes our trees to become stressed, and they all react in different ways. Many trees had their colors come early this year, as we saw waves and pockets of bright reds even in mid-to-late September. And, a couple of powerful wind events took many of the leaves off the trees earlier than what many would have hoped.

But, all is not lost and the season is not yet done. This weekend, we are expecting a second and final peak to arrive. While the map will tell you that just about all of central and northern New England is past peak, there are still a large number of trees that are just about to turn. Many late maples and oaks are on the verge of exploding with color in the next few days.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

So, if you are planning on driving north this weekend, you will still encounter some areas of terrific color in the southern whites of New Hampshire and southern greens of Vermont. Again, these areas (overall) are past their peak, but there is still some color to be found in this final wave.

Closer to home, you will find peak conditions this weekend for most of northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Again, given the drought, you will find conditions a bit spottier and more variable than normal, but as a whole, this will be the peak weekend for a large portion of the Merrimack Valley and the counties of Worcester, Middlesex and Essex.

There is one potential fly in the ointment, as we are expecting heavy rain Friday night into Saturday morning.  Winds will be gusty at times within some of the heavier downpours, causing some leaf drop to occur. Thankfully, it doesn’t appear at this time as though the winds will be as strong as our last few storms.

Sunday is looking like the clear “pick” day this weekend to get out and enjoy the fall colors under sunny skies and calm conditions.

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ

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