Fall Foliage: What to Know this Year

‘Fall foliage’ season is on the radar for many! While exciting things are ahead as we begin the new season, this fall season could look much different this year due to persistent drought conditions, that are expected to influence the fall foliage throughout the Midwest.

While some may think of warmer Septembers as a reason behind the change in leaves, the primary factor behind the changing colors are the shortening days and the reduced daylight that comes with them.

According to NBC 5 Storm Team meteorologist Pete Sack, the green-pigmented chlorophyll in leaves that is activated by sunlight and photosynthesis both slow down, a process that brings out the leaves’ natural colors—the red, yellow, orange and brown colors often seen in leaves before they are shed from trees during the fall season.

While those colors will still be prevalent this fall, “peak fall foliage” may be shortened due to year-long drought conditions, as drier leaves fall from trees faster than those with some moisture content.

Although the length depends on the region, peak fall foliage typically lasts between two and four weeks. That time may be cut in half this year, however, due to dry conditions.

This means, if you are planning a trip to take in fall leaf colors- it may be right to move up that timeline! Check out more on fall foliage here.