(WXIN) — While fall begins on Sept. 22, leaf peepers in most parts of North Dakota will have to wait a couple of weeks until peak foliage time, according to one prediction map.

The Smoky Mountains is one of the most popular places to catch leaves changing color in the U.S., and its 2022 Fall Foliage Prediction map is a tool designed to help travelers decide on the best time to visit.

Using a complex algorithm, the map forecasts county-by-county fall foliage based on millions of data points. The data includes historical temperatures, historical precipitation, forecast temperatures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; historical leaf peak trends, and even user-generated information.

North Dakotans should expect to see peak foliage between Oct. 3 through Oct. 24. with the most northern counties getting a first glimpse of the leaves changing colors.

For most KX viewers, the prime time for peak foliage will be the week of Oct. 17th!

Check out when is the best time for your county to see the leaves change by looking at the map here.

Why do leaves change color?

Chlorophyll is the compound that gives leaves their green color and helps plants by converting sunlight into “food” through photosynthesis.

As the days get shorter and colder in the fall, chlorophyll in leaves breaks down and reveals the natural colors underneath, including red, orange, and yellow.

The colors are based on chemicals in the leaves like carotenoids and anthocyanin, according to the Harvard Forest.

What’s the effect of the weather?

“Another important part of leaf-peeping is knowing the right time to go!” according to the Almanac. “For the best experience, not only should leaves be near their peak colors, but the weather should be agreeable, too.”

While many folks prefer blue skies and full sun to view the brilliance of the changing colors, others say a lightly overcast day could make the colors appear to “pop against the somber skies.”

The least desirable conditions are rain and wind, the latter of which can result in prematurely bare trees, the Almanac said.