National Weather Service, UP Travel give fall color outlook


MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – You may have noticed leaves are starting to change from green to orange.

With the fall equinox just a few days away, National Weather Service Meteorologist Matt Zika said peak colors may be later than expected.

“This year, since it’s been relatively mild in the month of August and September, temps have been 2-3 degrees above normal. We’re seeing a slower transition with the color,” Zika said.

Zika said peak color season is normally the first week of October. But this year, it may end up being Oct. 10 through 14. And there are two factors that trigger the color change.

“The really big thing that starts the decrease is the amount of daylight in the fall. From the middle of August to the end of September we lose about 2.5 to 3 hours of daylight,” Zika said.

The second factor is cooler temperatures.

“If we go through a period of time of some cool days and temperatures at night getting around freezing that will accelerate the leaf change process and we haven’t seen a consecutive amount of those days,” Zika said.

And as the weather gradually gets cooler in October, tourism is also expected to increase

“The advanced reservations were up in many areas compared to last year which is one of the reasons why we’re able to predict tourism. To us, it looks like it will be a phenomenal fall,” UP Travel Executive Director Tom Nemacheck said.

Nemacheck said there are many tourism hot spots during the fall.

“People enjoy the overlooks at the Porcupine Mountains, the Keweenaw, Lake of the Clouds, even Pictured Rocks,” Nemacheck said.

The Upper Peninsula has come in 1st place twice over the last five years on the USA Today National poll for the best destination for fall foliage in America. The 2022 winner will be announced this Friday.


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