During the growing season, chlorophyll is replaced constantly in the leaves. Chlorophyll breaks down with exposure to light in the same way that colored paper fades in sunlight. The leaves must manufacture new chlorophyll to replace chlorophyll that is lost in this way. In autumn, when the connection between the leaf and the rest of the plant begins to be blocked off, the production of chlorophyll slows and then stops. In a relatively short time period, the chlorophyll disappears completely. This then allows for the true autumn color to be revealed.
Over the next 2 weeks, we can expect to see a rapid transition with lots of fall color thanks to the recent chilly nights. However, a frost would likely end the coloring process and cause leaves to just drop off the trees.
It is important to note that Ohio law requires residents to not burn leaves or debris, or even have any camp fires from the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the months of October and November.
As we enjoy the fall colors, our weather team is quickly working on our winter weather outlook in which I hope to share with in the next few weeks. It is hard to believe winter is right around the corner.
Eric Elwell is WHIO StormCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.