GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Temperatures have definitely dropped as fall has officially begun in West Michigan. Fewer daylight hours and cooler temperatures are beginning to coax fall colors along, but there is still a long way to go before we hit peak.

One of the best ways to see where color is starting to unfold is through high resolution satellite imagery. The latest MODIS imagery for Sept. 30 shows some progression in the higher elevations of the Upper Peninsula but a lot of green still lingering, even up North.

(MODIS imagery of fall color in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern lower peninsula taken Sept. 30, 2022.)

As a result, forecasts for this weekend are for patchy color across most of the state. Weather conditions will be ideal for spending time outdoors and glimpsing some of the early, patchy color that has begun across Michigan.

(Fall foliage forecast for the first weekend of October 2022.)

Fall colors have been noticeably delayed in Michigan compared to about a decade ago. Leaves are now changing about one to two weeks later than they did on average in the 1990s and early 2000s.

(Fall color comparison from Sept. 24, 2020 and Sept. 24, 2014)

Forecasts continue to point to vibrant color in early October for the Upper Peninsula with most in West Michigan seeing peak color in late October of this year. At the latest, we will see some trees holding out until early November near lakeshore areas or places further south.

One of the best influencers of fall color is moisture and daily weather conditions. This year conditions seem to be ideal for vibrant color changes. Most of Michigan has recovered from drought with water tables lower than in 2020. This should allow for gorgeous color and slower leaf drop.

Daily weather has been conducive for a good color show as well. Warm, dry days and cool crisp nights are the best for coaxing the best shows from the trees. While the daily weather will still need to be watched, all factors so far this autumn point towards sucessful color displays and tours for the 2022 season!