Not only has it begun to feel more and more like fall over the past week, it's also starting to look a lot more like it too. Like clockwork, our leaves are beginning to show signs of color, and the best color displays are not far away!
For fall color enthusiasts perhaps considering a weekend road trip to find a great color show, the amount of time needed to drive to find it is decreasing rapidly. Near peak fall colors can now be found as close as Central Wisconsin, no more than a two to three hour drive from the Stateline. By this weekend, a long weekend for many due to Columbus Day, those areas are very likely to see fall color displays peaking.
Locally, the fall color's much more patchy, though beautiful hues of red, orange and yellow can be easily found in many spots. We're pleased to be partnering once again with the folks at Klehm Arboretum this year in sharing some of the gorgeous sights of color they will be photographing for us daily throughout the next several weeks. Attached in the slide show below this article you'll see one such image. Officially, our area's peak fall colors will occur sometime between October 15 and October 20, earliest to the north, latest to the south.
What drives the annual color-changing process responsible for the gorgeous seasonal displays? A chemical called chlorophyll in leaves is what gives them the bold, bright green colors we see in them during the Spring and Summer. As our temperatures cool during the Autumn months, chlorophyll breaks down, leaving other chemicals, such as xanthophyll, carotene, and anthocyanin, in place, which contributes to color change.
Not all foliage seasons are the same, though, and weather most certainly plays a role! The best Fall color displays come following a dry late Summer period, followed by mild, sunny Fall days and cool nights. Such conditions are likely to remain in place for at least the next few days here.