LOOKING FOR AUTUMN LIKE……
We’ve had some cool days here and there so far this season but REAL Autumn is nowhere to be seen. As I am sure you’ve noticed, foliage is way behind. See this post from last week for some of the science behind how weather impacts foliage.
TUESDAY’S THUNDERSTORM THREAT
Another warm day is on the way Tuesday and it will be more humid as well. Meanwhile, a cold front will push into the region during the afternoon. It’s not the strongest front in the world but it’ll be strong enough to trigger some showers and thunderstorms. Here’s a high-resolution model depiction of the radar over the next 24 hours or so.
The main threat appears to be between 4pm-8pm. Any storm will be capable of producing strong winds and hail.
VERY WARM WEEKEND AHEAD
By the weekend, a very strong ridge of high pressure will park over the East. In July, this kind of pattern produces highs in the mid 90s here. It’s October so temperatures will climb into the 80s. Highs will be almost 20 degrees above average by Monday and Tuesday.
When does the pattern break down? Maybe not until mid-month.
WE DID THIS JUST LAST YEAR
The first half of October 2017 was also very warm with lots of highs in the 70s and 80s.
It’s many people’s favorite time of the year: football season, crisp, cool nights, pumpkin patches, hay rides and of course fall foliage. Autumn can be spectacular around here, but the quality of the foliage season can vary from year to year.
WHAT MAKES FOR A GREAT FOLIAGE SEASON?
1) A WET EARLY GROWING SEASON
If dry conditions prevail in the spring and early summer, there is an increased risk of leaves dropping before they reach peak color in the fall. This year, we DID have a pretty wet period from April-June.
2) SUNNY DAYS AND CLEAR NIGHTS LATE IN SUMMER AND EARLY IN AUTUMN
3) CALM, SUNNY DAYS IN OCTOBER
What we don’t want in October is a bunch of rainy, windy days, especially later on the month. Those conditions will help pull down leaves and lead to a muted foliage season. In the first half of the month, cool and dry days and nights would be ideal. Welp:
Early October is looking pretty warm overall.
SCIENCE OF FALL FOLIAGE
Why do leaves change color? It’s all about chlorophyll. That’s what gives leaves their green color. But leaves have other pigments as well and as daylight decreases in the fall, chlorophyll quickly depletes. This allows those other pigments such as yellow, red, orange, etc to show up.
CURRENT FOLIAGE STATUS
We are not seeing much color yet locally. Pockets here and there but overall it seems like we already running behind schedule a bit.
Colors are most noticeable in areas well north of us, mainly in the mountains.
Peak colors typically occur in mid-to-late October around here. Sometimes we see a peak around October 16-23, sometimes more like October 22-31. I suspect we’ll see the latter this year.