Crozet Weather Almanac: October 2015

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Fall Colors Come to an End

By Heidi Sonen and Roscoe Shaw

October 2015 weather
October 2015 weather

The last week of October is generally peak color in Crozet, and now that November has arrived, we are rapidly going bare and colorless. So sad! But it happens every year with remarkable consistency. Heidi and I especially enjoy watching the color turn first on Buck’s Elbow, elevation 3000 ft. This starts in early October and peaks mid-month. At the bottom of the mountain at our house, elevation 800 feet, everything happens about two weeks later.

Actually, the main trigger for changing color is the length of daylight, not temperature change.  Less sunlight causes the trees to produce less chlorophyll. The yellows and red of autumn are actually present in the leaves all year but are hidden by the green from chlorophyll production. As the green fades, the fall color is revealed.

Although daylight is the primary driver, certain weather events can harm the fall color. Drought can cause the leaves to fall early. So can an early frost. Wind just plain knocks the leaves off the trees. So does rain. The best scenario is a moist growing season followed by a dry, sunny fall without frost or high winds or driving rain.

October Recap

October started wet and ended wet but was dry and pleasant most of the month. After 11 days of consecutive rain ended on October 5, we had 20 days with almost no rain. Frost nipped the low lying areas on the 18th, 19th and 20th and we got as low as 28 degrees at our house. Afternoons were still mostly warm with temperatures over 70 half of the days. A few days made the low 80s.

Rainfall

  • Mint Springs 5.32”
  • Batesville 8.81”
  • Ivy 4.27”
  • White Hall 4.61”
  • Wintergreen 11.71”
  • Waynesboro 6.34”
  • Nelleysford  7.84”
  • Univ. of VA 6.15”
  • CHO Airport 3.96”

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