Fall colors could be coming early to the Mitten - WNEM TV 5

Fall colors could be coming early to the Mitten

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Ready or not fall is just around the corner! The Autumnal Equinox is Friday, September 22.

It certainly doesn't feel like fall outside, though. The forecast shows several days of temps in the middle and upper 80s with a few 90 degree readings possible by the end of the week. 

Even though it may not feel like fall this week, and earlier cold spell last month sparked an early appearance of fall colors. Reds, oranges, and yellows are beginning to show around Mid-Michigan. While it is difficult to predict exactly when the leaves will reach their peak, we can get a good estimate.

So here’s a look at the best times to travel if want to see Michigan’s stunning fall colors.

The changing of the leaves varies from year-to-year based on a number of factors, including temperature, and precip, to past peak leaf trends, etc.  On average, peak color will begin in the Upper Peninsula around the first week of October and then move south to the southern end of the state by the last week of October.

This year it looks like we may see the fall colors peak earlier than normal, or maybe not at all...

Last year was a very warm and dry year and that postponed the changing of the leaves. This year we were cooler earlier, but we also saw a lot of rain earlier in the summer compared to lately where we haven’t seen as much.  

The main factor that point to an early peak of fall colors were our cooler temps from last month. In the month of August, we saw a few nights where temperatures fell into the 40s or even lower. Cold night time temperatures are a big factor when it comes to leaves changing colors.

This month so far has been different. Our late season warm up may hurt the leaves.

Once the leaves begin to change like they have a late season warm up could cause the leaves to drop before they finish changing color or before they reach their peak. If our overly warm stretch continues for too much longer the leaves may not change before falling from the trees in October.

As for now the leaves continue to change. If you have plans that take you up north to see the stunning beauty of Michigan in the fall you still may need to leave a little sooner than you did the last few years.  

While it is still early right now it looks like the peak color will begin about a week to a few days before the average color dates.

  • Those in the Upper Peninsula will start to see peak color by the last week of September into the first week of October.
  • The first to second week of October will bring peak color to Northern Lower Michigan around the M-22 highway.
  • Mid-October, around the second week, will bring peak fall color closer to middle Michigan near the Tri-Cities and Thumb.
  • The fall color will peak in southern Michigan around the third week of the October.  With the fall color dropping off or coming to an end around the end of the month.

It is important to reiterate that this may change depending on the weather. For a current look at who is seeing the most fall color check out our Color Foliage Report. It is updated continuously to give you the latest on where the fall colors are. 

As always if you get pictures of the fall leaves be sure to send them our way!

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