Zach’s Weather Whys: Vibrant colors in the leaves signal fall’s arrival

Zach's Weather Whys

CENTRAL ILLINOIS — It’s that time of year again when the trees decide to show their true colors.

Vibrant colors in the leaves signal fall’s arrival but it also means much more. Just why do the leaves change colors in the first place? The product is the result of chemical processes that happen in the tree as we transition from summer into winter.

Leaves are green in the spring and summer thanks to an important chemical known as chlorophyll, that works to absorb energy from sunlight. Chlorophyll is an important part of a plant’s food-making process.

As you know, days grow shorter and shorter in autumn which means that foliage doesn’t get as much energy from the sun. As a result, the green color dissipates, giving way to the spectrum of oranges, reds and other beautiful colors.

Here in Central Illinois, our leaves usually change in early October and reach their peak in late October or early November.

In a nutshell, shorter days equal true fall colors. When you’re jumping in that colorful pile of leaves or just taking it all in from Central Illinois’ world’s most beautiful drive, just remember winter is coming.

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