Fall colors in New Mexico delayed by cooler weather

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – According to the National Weather Service, there was so much variability across the state this year that it will create a patchwork of fall foliage. 

Higher elevations are already seeing the leaves change. But where the weather was hotter and drier, like the metro, fall colors might be late.

“The weather and the light, and so as we go through the fall season, the days get shorter and the nights get longer, and so the trees naturally respond to that lack of sunlight by storing that chlorophyll in their leaves, so they naturally start experiencing a change in their color,” said Brian Guyer, National Weather Service meteorologist. 

But this year, Mother Nature could be late in delivering those fall colors.

“Because we had a fairly warm summer and it was a little bit wetter, then we will probably see a little bit later, probably the first week of November,” said Guyer. “Drought conditions and the warm temperatures tend to keep the fall foliage from changing until a little bit later in the season but at the same time that drought stress can make the leaves fall off a little bit sooner.”

But that isn’t keeping people from going out to enjoy fall in New Mexico.  

“I love the fall. I think it is an amazing part of New Mexico to just be able to experience being outside especially when it’s warm,” said Mike Moreno. 

“Here is a beautiful place and throughout the whole bosque you can see the colors change pretty good,” said Edgar Torres. 

The National Weather Service said if the rest of October gets some cold weather, that could speed up the change in color. However, they are not expecting any major cold fronts or significant winter weather at this point.