We finally made it to some cooler, drier, more fall-like weather in New Jersey. For those who were waiting for that perfect autumn air, our time has come.

And for those who liked that warmer-than-average stretch of near-80-degree temperatures stretching to the first part of October? I'm sorry, but it's finally time to take a back seat and wait until next year.

Well OK, maybe not. With the way weather extremes have been in New Jersey over the past few years, we very well could see another near-80-degree day before the year is out. Time will tell.

Not only were we quite warm up through the start of October, but we've also been incredibly water-logged with tropical drenchings—quite a flip from last year's incredibly dry season. And if you recall, last year's fall foliage was not that impressive.

Fall foliage in New Jersey (Jason Graboski, Rutgers)
Fall foliage in New Jersey (Jason Graboski, Rutgers)

In fact, the past couple of years didn't really bode well for fall color. Simply put, the weather gods didn't cooperate to allow for spectacular color to happen.

So that begs the question, what about this year? What kind of fall color can we expect throughout the fall of 2023 now that we're past the first part of October?

As of right now, things are looking good. Although early on in the year we had reason to be doubtful.

Aside from our insanely warm winter, we had an incredibly hot stretch during the start of April, which coincided with drought conditions. Normally, that spells bad news for our trees and foliage to come.


However, weather conditions took a turn and became more favorable for our trees and shrubs as the spring season progressed. Even once we reached summer, the weather remained relatively tame.

Think about it for a moment. The nation as a whole had to deal with a relentless and prolonged heatwave, along with very dry conditions as far north as Canada.

With all of that going on, New Jersey actually had a fairly cool summer with reasonable amounts of rain. In fact, our longest-lasting heatwave didn't arrive until the first week of September.

Carol Hamilton
Carol Hamilton

Although it remained fairly warm and fairly wet up until Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples' Day weekend, the conditions for our trees and shrubs were very favorable here in New Jersey.

As a result, we should expect to see much brighter and more vibrant leaves over the next few weeks as that cooler air continues to take over. Hopefully, we get lucky and those cold fronts don't get too strong and blow all the leaves off before the start of November.

After the past couple of years, we deserve vibrant colors and great fall weather extending as late into the season as possible. As long as we get those warm days and cool nights without conditions becoming too dry, the foliage outlook for great color should be fantastic in the coming weeks (see fall foliage reports).

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Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

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The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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