Vivid Fall Colors Expected With Change In Temperatures

Jim Gudas
October 12, 2018 - 1:59 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It appears the combination of rain earlier this week and cooler temperatures now mean the Chicago-area will see vivid colors as the trees transition this fall.

"It looks like it's going to be a pretty good year," said Tim Schweizer of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. "It's been a little delayed because of the warm weather in September and early October, but with this kind of cooler weather it looks like it's going to be a good fall color season, just a little later than usual."

Schweizer said the combination of the rain and the cooler weather spurs development of the pigments that create fall colors.

"In Northeast Illinois, we're seeing hickories turning bright yellow; maples turning yellow, orange and red; sassafras are coloring up nicely on the forest edges," Schweizer said.

The peak color season for Northern Illinois is just around the corner.

"We'll see a peak come probably mid- to late-October in most of the northern part of the state," he said.

Julie Janoski, Plant Clinic Manager at Morton Arboretum, said a late spring, coupled with lingering warm temperatures earlier this week, helped delay the start of the fall color season in the Chicago-area.

She said the cooler weather we're now getting should set the stage for a colorful fall, as long as the weather keeps cooperating.

"It's so dependent on at this point how the weather goes. We're supposed to get those cooler nights coming up, and as long as it doesn't freeze hard, you know in the next couple of weeks we should be seeing the peak," Janoski said.

Forestry experts said another potential threat to the fall color season are any strong wind storms that could knock down leaves before they reach peak color.

Janoski said we should see significant daily color changes from now through the end of the month, as long as the weather cooperates.