Fall is here! But when will we get to enjoy cooler temperatures and leaves changing colors?

Virginia News

This picture shows a leaf discoloured on an autumn day in the forest of Marche-Les-Dames, near Namur, Belgium, on November 18, 2020. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As we continue through fall, we can look forward to leaves changing colors and cooler conditions — but when should you expect both to happen here in Central Virginia? Here are some answers.

There isn’t a magical date that we will hit where all leaves change colors and all temperatures automatically fall, but we can look at data and pinpoint around what time to expect changes to the area’s weather pattern.

Leaf colors can start to change as early as late September but most of us here in central Virginia and in the country typically expect leaves to start changing colors closer to mid-October and lasting through November. Leaves change color mainly because of the changes in sunlight schedule and cooler temperatures.

Around that same time, you can expect cooler temperatures — but let’s take a look at history here in Central Virginia to see where to expect that change.

Over the last decade (2010-2020) alone, according to the National Weather Service’ climate data, September is typically when temperatures start to cool down. August is also typically a cooler month than July, with July being our hottest month on average in the area.

Between July and August, there is a 3.1-degree difference on average. The temperature difference between August and September is cooler. The difference between August and September is a chilly 5.3-degree decrease overall.

Fall officially started on September 22, so let’s take a look at what average temperatures typically are on that date. On September 22 (2010-2020) the average temperature is 82.5 degrees which is almost spot on with the monthly average. Breaking September down into the coolest days on record, we have September 30th coming in at 77.3 degrees.

From the data, we can see September is a month where there still may be some warm days mixed in with some more pleasant days. That being said, cooler temperatures really start to take hold by the time we get to October (over a 10-degree difference on average between September and October). This would coincide with leaves changing color and true fall-like temperatures.

Temperatures slowly fall throughout the month of October. As you can expect the coolest weather is towards the end of the month. Specifically, the coolest day on record (2010-2020) happens to be Halloween! October 31 comes in at a cool 66.4 degrees over the last decade (2010-2020).

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