How Weather Affects Fall Foliage

This is a look on how to forecast your local fall foliage.

Posted: Sep 22, 2020 3:38 PM
Updated: Sep 22, 2020 6:05 PM

Fall-lovers rejoice! The autumn season is among us. The days are shorter; the beverages are served warmer and horror-film binge watching is at an all-time high. If that's not your cup of tea or pumpkin spice, maybe the changing of the leaves is something we can all get excited about. Have you ever wondered what goes into the changing of colors or why some trees have different pigments than others? It's actually multiple factors that goes into the science behind fall foliage. Here are a few things to watch closely in coming weeks so you can have added knowledge on what to expect in your front yard.

One huge contributor to forecast fall colors is the temperature trend. It's no surprise that northern and mountainous climates usually peak first. Typically, in the late-summer weeks cooler air begins to spill in to those locations that allow those climates to experience cooler mornings first. The perfect combination of cool, yet frost-free mornings also sunny afternoons will allow the slow moderation of colors we really desire. Which we already received a lot of lately.

Another important role player is precipitation. More specifically, how much rain has fallen during the growing season. Ample soil moisture that migrates deeper in the ground from the spring and summer months contributes to the outcome of the type of foliage we will experience. On years where we suffered drought conditions through the warmer months the leaves quickly died and fell off. Luckily this year we received a surplus of over 8 inches of rainfall through the summer season.

The best scenario to see those vibrant colors across the Tri-State is a growing season with abundant moisture followed by a dry, cool and sunny autumn season. Good luck to a vivid and colorful Fall season ahead!

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