Early October is peak season for the Northern Panhandle counties of Hancock, Brooke, Ohio and Marshall, as well as Randolph and Webster counties.
Mid-October is peak season for north central counties Wetzel, Monongalia, Marion, Taylor, Harrison, Doddridge, Tyler, Pleasants, Wood, Ritchie, Wirt, Calhoun, Gilmer, Lewis, Barbour, Braxton and Upshur, as well as Nicholas and Greenbrier counties.
Late October is peak season for the southwestern part of the state: Jackson, Roane, Clay, Mason, Putnam, Kanawha, Fayette, Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln, Boone, Raleigh, Summers, Monroe, Mingo, Logan Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer, Hampshire, Morgan, as well as Eastern Panhandle counties Berkeley and Jefferson.
Fitzwater said the state is just a few days behind schedule, but for the most part fall foliage season is on track.
When the sun moves farther south, daylight hours decrease and temperatures fall. That causes leaves to stop producing chlorophyll - the chemical that gives plants their green color. With the decrease in chlorophyll, the underlying colors of the leaves become visible so the next strongest pigment becomes dominant, giving the leaves a new hue.
Walnut trees turn to bright yellow and dogwoods to crimson; oaks turn to rusty red while others fall into a pale brown. Persimmons change to glossy green with yellow and sassafras will don red, orange and yellow leaves. The Witch Hazel? Bright yellow-orange.
"It's a mixed bag of different trees all over the state," Fitzwater said.
"We have beautiful hardwood forests - that's what's responsible for colorful foliage. It's a very diverse hardwood forest so we get beautiful colors everywhere."
The state Division of Forestry will produce weekly reports containing the most colorful routes to see fall foliage at its peak through October. The information, including route numbers and specific points of interest, will be released each Thursday afternoon on the divisions' websites at www.wvforestry.com, www.facebook.com/wvforestry, and www.wvcommerce.org.
The first fall foliage report will be released on Thursday.