Experts Predict A Lack Of Fall Foliage This Year In Oklahoma
This is by far both my favorite time of the year. After a hot summer, I welcome the cooler temperatures and pull my hoodies from the closet with joy. The thought my feet won't melt on motorcycle trips through our state's trails. It's a glorious time of the year, but 2022 likely won't provide that picturesque tell-tale sign fall has arrived.
It goes without saying, summer was a brutal one this year. Very hot and very dry, but the extremes have been the trend for the last calendar year.
Summer 2021 was wet and honestly mild. Low to mid-90s every day and plenty of rain. When fall finally arrived, those late-summer/early-fall temperatures lingered on for months.
I know it's weird to claim we had an "extreme" fall in 2021, but it remained in the 70s and 80s until December 31st. I can hardly complain... Because we never had that cycle of frigid mornings and hot afternoons, fall allergies didn't exist for me last year. When the cold fronts did come, it was as if we hopped from the warm crock pot straight into the freezer.
Winter 2022 came in like a tidal wave. The temperatures dropped from the mid-80s to mid-20s overnight, and mother nature sent us a new winter storm on the regular. It seemed like we had ice and snow every other or every three weeks through April.
Our part of the state averages about two inches of snow per year. From January through April 2022 we experienced 18 inches. A very extreme winter and spring in Oklahoma.
As spring turned to summer, you remember what happened. It stopped raining and the sun baked every inch of ground across the entire region. We have recorded almost 21 inches of total rainfall this year. 18-ish January through April, we've had just around 3 inches all summer long, most of which fell in early August and not much since then.
It's this big moisture gap that has experts predicting we'll experience little to no fall foliage. Or at least, minimal fall foliage. The drought has been hard on everything, so the vibrant colors and hues of yellow, orange, and red will probably have a brown tinge to it... or so they say.
It's always hard to judge fall in our part of Oklahoma. While we enjoy the mountains year-round, we don't have the species diversity in the refuge for spectacular vibrant fall vistas.
All the same, you can see it if you look around Lawton. The trees in the medians of Cache Road between Sheridan and Fort Sill Boulevard are the best part of my daily commute every year. Varying species paint a veritable spectrum of fall colors as they change. By the time the last of them go yellow, the others are orange and deep red.
I was out in West Lawton over the weekend looking at the trees as I drove down Quannah Parker Trailway... there's a big hint of yellow all over out there. So as the experts talk about the fall colors not happening, we'll take what we can get.
There are places around the state that offer some truly awesome fall views though. Whether or not they'll be as vibrant this year as they usually are is still unknown, but if you're willing to travel, you'll find you fall at some point this season.