GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — I enjoy all seasons in Michigan but I have a special fondness for fall.
Some of the most enjoyable weather of the year can be felt in September and October with cool mornings replaced with warm afternoons and tolerable humidity. The bonus is the gradual transition of the leaves that ultimately bring about the kaleidoscope of colors that blanket our gorgeous state.
Here’s where we stand in terms of current color as we head into the upcoming weekend:
It’s no surprise you’ll have to travel a good distance to find decent color. The Porcupine Mountains and Keweenaw Peninsula, including Copper Harbor and Houghton, are leading the charge at 40% to 60% color change. It’s expected within the next week that many places in the Keweenaw Peninsula will be very close to peak color.
The central, southern and eastern Upper Peninsula mostly range from 30% to 50% change. Give them a couple of weeks and it will be worth the trip.
Here’s a picture from Yooper Steve’s website showing vibrant reds on Gratiot Mountain at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula:
Very little color can be found below the Mighty Mac. At the very most, you may run across patches of 30% here and there, but most locations are closer to the 10% to 20% range.
The figure is even lower across southern Michigan. Here’s a picture of a rogue maple changing colors in my neighborhood in Grand Rapids:
The thought is that with widespread drier-than-average conditions likely persisting into at least early October, the color change will be running ahead of schedule and not as vibrant.
Warmer-than-average temperatures will also dominate the forecast for a while.
What really helps bring out the best colors are cold mornings, followed by sunny afternoons and average rainfall.
Even if the colors aren’t expected to be at their most brilliant, Michigan will inevitably stun you with breathtaking views. It’s like a treasure hunt when you round a curvy bend in the road and you stumble upon the brightest colors of the right side of the visible light spectrum.