Chicago - It may seem more like summer than autumn with highs hitting the 80s but we are now nearly three weeks into meteorological fall. That means we are about a month away from peak fall colors in Chicago.
There are factors that determine how fabulous our fall color show will or won't be. While our drought conditions are waning, they could still delay the start of the show by several days. Our relatively warm weather streak as of late could also make the colors less vibrant.
I am optimistic that this year's fall color show will be a good one. While we are warmer than average, this isn't extreme heat and the drought has diminished enough with recent rains that I don't think it will have that great of an impact.
AccuWeather's fall foliage forecast is optimistic too. They predict "the best places to check out the fall foliage this season is probably going to be across the Northeast, the Great Lakes in the upper Midwest and then even the West."
To get the latest reports on fall colors in Illinois, just check enjoyillinois.com.
Fall foliage prediction map for week of September 25th (SmokyMountains.com)
SmokyMountains.com is also a good source to turn to for leaf peepers. Their fall foliage prediction map has a slider that lets the user move through the different weeks of fall to see where colors will be at their peak.
Next week in northern Illinois our colors will be "patchy" while much of the upper peninsula of Michigan and northern Minnesota will be at peak.
Fall foliage prediction map for week of October 23rd (SmokyMountains.com)
SmokyMountains.com predicts northern Illinois will be at peak the week of October 23rd. By then, most of Michigan and Wisconsin will be past peak.
Here are some helpful links for planning your viewing of the fall color show:
- Midwest spots to take in the colors
- Least crowded Midwest towns to see the show from
- Spots close to Chicago for leaf peepers
- Illinois trip planner
- Fall color reports
Chicago's fall colors at their peak on October 22, 2022 | Barry Butler Photography
Chicago photographer Barry Butler captured last year's show with this shot from south of the city on October 22nd. This was going into the third week of the month. This is about the time our fall colors should peak here this year.
We way warm, sunny fall days and cool nights to get the best fall colors. The Fox Model is showing plenty of warm fall days coming up. Seven of the next ten days are forecast to have highs in the 80s.
After today there is only one day forecast to be below average through Friday of next week. So grab your seat and get ready for the annual fall color show. It should be worth the wait.