GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Sept. 1 marks the first day of meteorological fall.
WHEN CAN I EXPECT THE LEAVES TO CHANGE COLOR?
The fall foliage prediction map indicates when peak colors will show across Michigan.
While Michigan is usually one of the first states to see fall foliage, experts believe it will be a few weeks before peak color arrives. Typically, the first week or two of September bring little to no color. By late September, the Upper Peninsula starts to see some orange and red colors pop. For the remainder of Michigan, the first through third weeks of October bring optimal viewing.
WHAT WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE NEEDED FOR LEAVES TO CHANGE?
In order for green leaves to change, fewer hours of daylight must occur. During the month of September, Grand Rapids will lose 1 hour and 14 minutes of daylight. With less sunlight, plants will reduce their production of chlorophyll, which is the chemical that makes leaves green. That creates a window for the leaves to change over to reds, yellows and oranges.
The amount of rainfall plays a role in how vibrant the colors will be. If a drought settles in over the summer months, colors are typically duller. Luckily for West Michigan, we are sitting near normal for rain amounts this year.
The most vibrant colors typically occur with sunshine-filled days and cooler nights. A warm stretch of weather in the fall can decrease the vibrancy of fall colors and delay the change.
A WARM SEPTEMBER AHEAD
The first day of fall arrives on Sept. 22 at 2:50 a.m. Eastern time. Based on projections, when that day comes, it may not feel like fall just yet.
September’s temperature outlook indicates most of the country will see above-normal temperatures. For West Michigan, this will likely mean an extended period of mid-to-upper 70s and even low 80s.
With warmer weather sticking around, it may cause fall colors to be less intense. For West Michigan, this will likely mean peak colors display in mid-to-late October rather than earlier on. However, this is contingent on the type of tree and how much direct sunlight it receives.
The forecast will change over the next few weeks! Be sure to check back for updates each week. Send us your fall color pictures by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to help us detect how color is changing across our area.