Fall colors are brighter with a little extra help

It didn't happen overnight, but from the State Capitol to Auditorium Shores - trees in Austin are full of color. It was a gradual change that caught some longtime residents, like Mary Ann Thomas, by surprise. "I didn't expect it at all because we normally don’t get anything, but it was nice to see it."

From SkyFOX Drone, you can see the colorful canopy that’s along Lady Bird Lake.

It may not be as checkered as those in the northeast.

It's a familiar sight for Chuck Bradbury who once lived up North. "These colors, some of them match what’s up there but it’s not as wide spread, a lot of there would be, everything would be turned probably buy this time, it would be colder and pushing freezing."  

"And so the chlorophyll starts breaking down in preparation for the winter, and that’s when the orange yellows and reds start becoming more visible,” said Jesse Neumann, who is a Forester with the Austin Parks Department. Neumann spent the last few years monitoring trees that were dull and dry because of the drought. The rebound came with the rains.

"I wouldn't say we were expecting it, but it’s not surprising given the amount of precipitation we've had this year and the mild summer,” said Neumann.

But there's one other factor for all this eye popping color to consider according to Neumann.

It has to do with us. "Over the past couple of weeks, until recently, it was pretty overcast, and the actual human physiological perception of color is enhanced with overcast conditions, so it’s actually been not only more colorful, but we have been perceiving the color enhanced, because of the overcast conditions,” said Neumann.

If you are looking for a weekend getaway, to see some fall colors. There are a few hot spots that are a short hop away. A lot of travel advisory services typically have these locations on their lists.

  • Garner State Park.
  • Lost Maples Natural Area.
  • McKinney Falls State Park.
  • Guadalupe river state park.

But tree experts like Jesse Neumann warn time is running out. "The sooner the better, if you can make it out, get out, otherwise I think we all know the weather in Austin can be quite unpredictable, so yeah, the sooner the better to get out and enjoy it,” said Neumann.

Neumann went on to say, a repeat performance next fall is possible; but that will require another mild and wet forecast.