Fall is in the air, and the colors on the trees are starting to reflect the change in season. We are approaching the time of year when the Bluegrass sees the peak of the fall foliage. The “peak date” has been pushed back, and will occur later this year because of the incredibly warm start to fall. Leaf peepers won’t have to wait much longer to see the rolling hills of Kentucky full of colors.
Early November is expected to bring the peak of the foliage around central and eastern Kentucky. Give the leaves another week and the peak will occur farther west.
Weather plays an important in the timing and vibrancy of the fall foliage. Ideal conditions are a cool and dry period between late September and mid-October. This allows for the breakdown of chlorophyll, which keeps the leaves green during the spring and summer, to expose the leaf’s “natural” pigment. A cool down at night is especially important.
Warmer than normal temperatures during the early fall can delay the foliage’s peak. A very dry summer can not only delay the peak, but also result in duller colors. Wetter-than-normal conditions during the summer and early fall can also have a negative impact. Strong winds and high winds can pull leaves done prematurely or shorten the peak period.
Some colors are already starting to pop around the Bluegrass. Leaves should start changing over the coming weeks as nights stay chilly and days remain cool and crisp. This weekend could be critical for how vibrant our fall turns out to be.
We are tracking a pair of cold fronts that will slide through the Bluegrass over the next 24 hours. Front #1 brings rain overnight. A secondary front will carry a late-day shower chance Saturday. A bigger headline with the second front will be falling temperatures. After mid-day highs in the mid to upper 50s temperatures will drop into the mid 30s by Sunday morning.
The parade of boundaries will make for a blustery Saturday. Wind gusts between 25 and 30 mph will certainly wrestle the leaves. It’s a good thing Sunday will be dry and sunny, but crisp day so you can take care of the leaves that come down.