Ask Todd: Fall colors forecast

The first day of fall is just three days away, but it looks and feels like summer outside. Todd tells us when we can expect to see those vibrant fall colors.

The first day of fall is Thursday but it still feels and looks like summer around East Tennessee. But this year's warmer weather could be good news for fall leaves. 

WBIR Chief Meteorologist Todd Howell explained that there are several factors involved in the fall colors forecast but the primary one is the length of daylight. 

As the days get shorter and nights become longer, trees slow down the production of chlorophyll used in the photosynthesis process; which makes their leaves green. 

When it slows down, the leaves change to those bright fall colors everyone loves to see. 

Two other major factors are weather and temperatures heading into fall. The ideal weather to get the brightest leaves is warm and sunny days with cool, but not freezing, temperatures at night. 

Todd said the lack of rain forces trees to build up a chemical that creates the most vibrant colors. 

But it's more difficult to forecast when those fall colors will being to pop. 

Trees in the higher elevations could start as early as mid-September and those in the lower elevation will generally start to turn around mid-October. 

We're expecting a warmer than average fall so that could shake things up this year. If the higher temperatures continue, we could see those very bright leaves peak in late October or early November instead. 


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