Michiana Fall Foliage Forecast

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Welcome to Fall 2020, Michiana! 

Autumn may be less than a day old, but there are already a few signs of the season around South Bend.

You don't have to look very hard to see the leaves starting to change across Michiana. However, when can we expect the full color slate of Fall 2020 to arrive?

Recent trends, driven by warming temperatures due to climate change, have Michiana's peak fall color typically falling around Halloween.

However, this year, I anticipate the peak of autumn color to arrive two weeks earlier compared to the recent average, with the brightest colors showing up locally around October 15. This date would be fairly close to our long-term average peak date of October 22nd. 

Our friends at the Smoky Mountains agree, as they expect Michiana's peak fall color to come on the scene during the week of October 19.

What's driving the (relatively) earlier foliage peak? Ideal weather conditions for early fall color (and the most vibrant colors as well) are warm days and cool nights. It also helps when the preceding summer has been dry.

We've checked all of those boxes in Michiana.

The drought this summer (which many are still currently dealing with on the first day of autumn) should not only spell an early peak in fall foliage, but a short-lived one as well. Some trees have had their leaves fall off already due to the stress of the drought, too. 

The ABC57 First Warning Neighborhood Weather Team is expecting more warm days for the rest of this week. Our temperatures at night will be a little on the warm side, but shouldn't mess with the color vibrancy in a major way. However, I don't expect a big color change until we get into next week, when Michiana's next major taste of fall weather arrives.

We'll continue to track the leaves changing through the coming weeks.

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