Fall Weather Week: What brings us in those bright fall colors?


SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – As part of WSPA’s fall weather week watch Carolina’s Chief Meteorologist Christy Henderson shares how weather and shorter days help give us those bright fall colors.

The weather has worked out in most cases for full fall color to paint the Western Carolinas. Weather plays a big role on the fall colors each year, but it’s really the shorter days that cause the leaves to reveal their bright colors.  

This color is actually present in the leaf year round – (some of the red pigments are produced, though, during the fall).  Yellows, oranges and magenta hues transform an area of trees into a work of art.  

As the nights get longer, chlorophyll, the chemical necessary for photosynthesis and responsible for the green color, shuts down.  As the green fades, the brighter colors show through.

When the weather consists of warm, sunny days and cold, crisp (but not freezing) nights, some of the sugars are trapped in the leaf, causing the bright colors to pop. 

This year, the Western Carolinas had ample rain and lots of sunny days with cool nights in September.  This is revealing some beautiful landscapes all around that will fade gradually in November before the leaves fall off of the tree for the winter. 

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