KSL meteorologist says THIS is the weekend to see the changing leaves

Oct 7, 2022, 6:30 PM | Updated: Oct 11, 2022, 7:56 pm
changing leaves...
Leaves changing color this week in Millcreek Canyon, in Salt Lake County. (Chris Williams)
(Chris Williams)

SALT LAKE CITY —  The temperature has been just right, and the experts say that Utah’s changing autumn leaves are really putting on a show right now.

According to KSL Meteorologist Matt Johnson, this is the time for a scenic drive.

“It could last into the middle of next week just because conditions have become quite mild,” Johnson said on Friday. “Typically we’d have expected to see some cold fronts by now. But we’ve been in the upper 70s, low 80s in the valleys, and that keeps these leaves from turning at a faster rate.

These are the places Johnson suggests for a scenic drive (in case you’re new to town or are looking for a new colorful drive to inspire you):

And it sounds cliche, but time is of the essence. The same warmer temperatures that have extended the fall color season could also cause leaves to go brown and fall off.

What will you tell the kids about the changing leaves?

The question is inevitable, isn’t it? “Dad, what makes the leaves change color?”

You’ll sound like a champ when you can say leaves change from green to red or yellow, orange or purple, because the leaves stop producing chlorophyll. That production slows down as the nights get longer and colder and the tree develops a layer of corklike material that separates the leaf’s stem from the tree.

Then, according to the U.S. Forest Service when all of the chlorophyll from the leaf is gone, the leaf goes through a couple of processes that seal off its veins.

When the veins are sealed, the leaf produces the substance anthocyanin, which causes the color change.

Now that’s a lot of science to yell to the kids in the back seat.  So you could just tell them one of the Algonquin or Greek myths that described why the leaves changed color in the days before we knew about chlorophyll and anthocyanin.

Other reading:

Chick-fil-A’s autumn milkshake goes national after succeeding in Salt Lake City


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KSL meteorologist says THIS is the weekend to see the changing leaves