As you're probably aware, the weather can have detrimental impacts on trees and leaves. Depending on how negatively the weather affects Michiana's trees, the colors we see during the fall months may not be what we are accustomed to seeing. To this point, the leaves are running behind schedule. Most counties in Indiana and southern Michigan are reporting very little to no color as of October 3rd. That's unusual for both states in a typical year.
In a normal year, most of Michigan and northern Indiana reports at least patchy color by October 3rd. However, the extension of abnormally warm temperatures this year has delayed the color-changing process that occurs within leaves. In order to start changing color, leaves need cool to mild days in the 50s and 60s and chilly nights in the upper 30s and lower 40s in September and early October. It's also important to not have too much heavy rain or wind during September and October. Both can cause leaves to fall off trees prematurely.
In addition to recent weather, a very wet February and May, colder-than-normal temps in both March and April, and many days in the 90s during the summer months could wind up producing subpar color over the next several weeks. So, what is it looking like for the rest of fall? Well, if you're hoping to do some fall foliage hunting, you may want to hold off until at least October 15th for most of Indiana and southern Michigan. Temperatures will stay well above normal through at least October 12th, if not later. Highs will be in the 70s and 80s with a couple of cooler days and nights possibly sprinkled in the mix.
South Bend foliage - October 3, 2018
Moreover, there will be several days with breezy winds through mid-October. That will likely cause at least some leaves to fall off before they can change color. Combined with quite a few chances of rain and thunderstorms, the fall foliage in Michiana and surrounding areas will likely be minor at best through late this month. Fortunately, there does appear to be a shift to cooler temps by mid-month, which could allow the process of color-changing to take off as we approach the last week of October into early November. This will especially be true if the cooler days feature sunshine, minimal rain and low humidity. Put simply, if you want to venture out and explore foliage in Indiana and southern Michigan, we'd wait until October 20th and later.
If you don't know where to go, these links provide plenty of options for you: