How weather determines the fall colors

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Red, yellow, orange, brown, and purple may be the colors of autumn, but you may have noticed that in some years, the foliage is more vibrant than in others. While some factors may not have to do with the weather, changes in temperature can have a big impact on the colors that you see.

Red and purplish leaves are highly dependent on the sugar concentration in the tree. When there is dry weather, plenty of sunshine, and cool temperatures that remain above freezing, there is more sugar concentration; making the colors more vibrant. When hard frosts happen early, and when there are cloudy and wet conditions, the foliage tends to be more dull.

Brown leaves often result from prolonged dry conditions; drought also can cause leaves to fall prematurely.

Yellow and orange leaves, however, are not affected by the weather. They appear due to the decrease in daylight at this time of the year.

After a dry September, October is off to a wet start. 22News asked people in western Massachusetts how they’re feeling about the color we’ve seen so far.

“So beautiful, everyone will say they come to Massachusetts to see the leaves. I told my boyfriend the other day we should have a fall wedding just because of the leaves,” Teiasha Sharp of West Springfield said.

“I think it’s a little late, but the maples are brilliant red and oaks are little slow coming out, but I think it’s going to be a beautiful fall season,” Mary Maloney of Palmer said.

So far, we’ve haven’t had a lot of wind this fall. Strong winds and heavy rain can shorten the fall season by knocking a lot of the leaves off the trees.

Click here for a look at the current status of foliage across New England.

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