Fall Arrives…Color Lags Behind

Fall is officially here.  The Autumnal Equinox occurred at 9:21 this morning. As you well know, it still feels like summer. Today the high reached 91 degrees, that makes 82 days this year where the high reached 90 degrees or above.


The rest of this week will feel like summer with highs in the low 90s, morning lows in the upper 60s to near 70.  The humidity will start to creep back in this weekend, so those low 90s will feel more like the upper 90s. A front will approach with the promise of relief next week.  Monday a few showers are possible.


It will start to feel more like fall next week. Expect some showers but highs in the upper 70s.

It has been a hot summer, so what does all this mean for fall color?

Autumn leaf color is basically caused by a lack of sunlight and to a lesser extent the weather in September and October.

Drier than average conditions in the late summer into early fall usually means the leaves will change color faster and fall off trees prematurely.


A wet September and October will tend to produce fewer vivid colors and the leaves may also fall earlier due to the rain, wind and storms.

The best weather for brilliant fall color is warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights but without frost or freezes.

So when do the leaves typically change in Tennessee?

On average, in the Smoky Mountains the fall color peaks in the higher elevations mid to late October. In the lower elevations it peaks in early November.


In Middle Tennessee, our peak color is usually a little later. On the Plateau it’s typically early November.  In the heart of the mid-state it averages in early to mid November.  And in West Tennessee the average peak time is late November.

Because of the weather, this fall may not be that spectacular.

Lisa Spencer

posted 6:15 pm


About Lisa Spencer

Lisa Spencer is the chief meteorologist at WSMV Channel 4 Nashville. You can catch her weathercasts weekdays at 5pm, 6pm and 10pm.
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