GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Fall colors are running behind schedule this year in West Michigan.
Many spots are a full two weeks behind what we would expect, with only moderate color being reported in the Upper Peninsula this week. Usually this is the time peak colors start to pop for counties around Lake Superior.
Leaves change every year because of the fluctuation in daylight. Shorter days trigger a response in our trees, telling them winter is on its way and it’s time to shake their leaves.
While leaf-drop is inevitable, the display each year is highly dependent on the week-to-week weather patterns.
The best displays happen when our trees are not stressed, meaning there has been average rainfall. Drought can cause an early change and fast leaf-drop. Flood or a surplus of rain can cause trees to cling to their leaves much longer than usual and delay the change.
Temperature also impacts the beauty of the display. Warmer-than-average streaks of weather will delay how fast the trees change, too. On the other side of the spectrum, a cold blast can damage leaves and cause them to brown, die and fall before they can change into a brilliant spectrum.
This September, we have been warmer and wetter than average, delaying our display.
SEPTEMBER DEPATURE GRAPHIC
The forecast this week will call for a generally cool and dry stretch, which will help get our fall colors moving along once more.
Currently, most of the U.P. is at moderate color with low color being reported for almost all the lower peninsula.
By Oct. 7 to Oct. 12, we should begin seeing high color up north and moderate color in the lower peninsula, especially away from the lakeshore.
Oct. 12 to Oct. 16 will likely see the spread of high color even further south, especially for mid-Michigan. Some of our high elevations in the Upper Peninsula will likely start transitioning away from peak.
By Oct. 16 to Oct. 20, peak color should be unfolding across all our West Michigan counties with colors fading to the north.
The final week of October should feature the last of our fall color show with leaves transitioning to brown.
Much could change with the fall-foliage forecast in the weeks ahead depending on the weather. For now, expect recent rain to create a low leaf-drop and colors to come later than usual.