Fall Colors: Are they here earlier or later than normal?

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Fall colors are beginning to pop here in Little Rock. The recent cold snap is just what the trees need to change from green to yellow, red, and orange.

CREDIT: Meteorologist Alex Libby in west Little Rock.

Taking a look around the state using the many ARDOT cameras we can see where different parts of the state are in their foliage progression.

Starting out in Thornton Arkansas, which is located in the southern part of the state, the colors are pretty scattered. There are a few colorful trees but for the most part, the leaves haven’t changed yet.

Thornton ARDOT camera screenshot from Thursday morning.

Moving north to Hot Springs Arkansas there are a bit more colors but green is still the most abundant color.

Hot Springs ARDOT camera screenshot from Thursday morning.

Here in Little Rock, the colors are slowly changing. Some trees are at their peak and others are taking their time. This shot from the big rock interchange shows that there is still a long way to go until we reach peak color in the capital city.

Little Rock (Big rock interchange) ARDOT camera screenshot from Thursday morning.

Finally, in northern Arkansas, we take a look at the ARDOT camera in Fayetteville. Northern parts of the state have seen near-freezing temperatures for the past few weeks. Looking at this picture it’s clear that the Fayetteville area is near peak color.

Fayetteville ARDOT camera screenshot from Thursday morning.

It’s the first week of November and it looks like southern and central parts of the state are seeing partial color at best. Northern Arkansas is the place to be if you want to do some leaf-peeping this weekend.

Is this earlier or later than normal?

According to the Smoky Mountains foliage map, all of Arkansas should be at or near peak color for the first week of November. It’s the first week of November and only the far Northwestern parts of the state are seeing near peak foliage. This means we are later than normal.

CREDIT: smokymountains.com (Fall color prediction for the first week of November)

Why is our foliage changing so late this year?

Leaves change when the amount of daylight and temperatures decrease. Since the amount of daylight remains consistent year to year the late fall colors can mainly be blamed on warmer than average temperatures. October finished nearly 5° warmer than average which ended up being the 13th warmest on record. Click here for the full October weather summary.

Warmer weather is just one of the factors that are causing the late foliage. The other factor is the rain that we got this fall. For the months of August and September, Little Rock saw very little rainfall. Both those months finished with rain totals nearly 2″ below normal. October was different. Little Rock recorded just under 4″ of rain, which is very close to average. With the late summer being so dry the trees were starting to drop their leaves early, but the wet weather we saw in October gave them some life. The rain and the warmer than normal temperatures are what have allowed the trees to hold onto their leaves a little longer than normal this year.

If you still want to get some beautiful fall pictures there is plenty of time in central and southern parts of the state.

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