The Autumn colors of the U.P.

MARQUETTE, MI (WZMQ) – We’re just settling into fall here in the U.P. As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, the trees have started to show off their brilliant fall colors.

The trees are just getting started this year, and the drive around town is already starting to look more colorful, but according to the national weather service the colors aren’t quite at their full peak.

Those of us living here in the U.P. are no stranger to the natural beauty all around us. Every fall that natural beauty is highlighted with the changing colors of the leaves, bringing people out from all over to check out the trees.

Kim is a traveler from Frankenmuth, MI, he and his friends stopped on the 510 bridge in Negaunee and we spoke with him about why they make the trip up here each year. “fall colors aren’t in full color yet, but so far, we’ve seen a lot of the maple trees have really turned and it’s beautiful, especially with the river coming through here it’s gorgeous.”

There are a couple of different things that play into the change in colors. Matt Zika is a meteorologist with the national weather service, and he says that this year we’re actually 5 – 7 days behind where we were last fall. According to Zika, the loss of daylight during this stretch is usually the main factor that kick start’s the color change. “That’s the first thing telling the trees that we need to stop producing the chlorophyll, the green pigments we see in the leaves, and then, once we start to get these cool nights, that accelerates that process even more.”

From August to September, we lose around 2 hours of daylight, just one of nature’s signals to the beginning of fall, but Zika points to another factor that may be what’s set us behind this year. “It is definitely aided by the strings of cool nights and cool days as well. August the temperatures were a little bit above normal, September temperatures averaged a degree, a degree and a half or so above normal.”

The warm weather this fall seems to have brought more people out to take a peek at the leaves this year. according to the farmers almanac, the fall colors are expected to hit their peak here in Northern Michigan before October 17th. Kim said this about he and his friends trip up north this fall: “Our trips been great, it’s always great we do a lot of things together and we always have fun, we love the upper peninsula and it’s beautiful, it’s well worth stopping.”

We’ve still got a couple weeks here to get out and see the leaves changing before things start winding down this fall, but, Zika did say a couple parts of the U.P. may see their first snowflakes this week.