Leaves slow to change color this year due to warmer temps

Weather Blog

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Fall in Southern New England hasn’t really felt like fall, and it also hasn’t looked like it either.

Currently, most of the colorful foliage can be found in the northern half of New England.

Unfortunately, little to no color change can be found in the southern half.

As days grow shorter and overnight temperatures become cooler, leaves will begin the process of changing colors because they’ll stop producing chlorophyll.

The leaves slowly stop producing chlorophyll and it eventually breaks down causing the leaves to change from the green color to yellow, orange and eventually red.

By stopping their food-making process, combined with the lack of sunlight and colder temperatures, the leaves are preparing for winter.

Does warmer weather slow down the process?

In short, the answer is yes.

The timing of peak foliage changes from year to year based on many factors.

Droughts can make branches and leaves weaker, causing them to fall prematurely. Lack of sunlight during a long stretch of cloudy days also hasn’t helped.

The warm weather we’re experiencing right now is reminiscent of summer, meaning the leaves aren’t exposed to the cooler weather just yet.

However, the days are getting shorter and the lack of sunshine each day is slowly helping leaves change.

Until Southern New England feels its first true fall chill, it’ll be a more gradual change.

The average first frost of the year for Providence is Oct. 19.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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