Tonawanda News

Features

October 8, 2012

Summer drought conditions could weaken fall colors

(Continued)

“What happens in the fall is the trees metabolically draw nutrients from the leaves into the stems so those molecules can be used again in the following season. In the process, the chloraplasts begin to die, and once the green pigment is naturally broken down it exposes the other colors.

“If you damage leaves, the chloraphyl will begin to be bleached, the leaf tissue will reach high temperatures and those (red, yellow and orange) pigments will begin to break down so when the chloraphyl breaks down, you won’t have that intense color,” he said.

Jack Kanack, a North Tonawanda National Weather Service observer said readings from his backyard weather station indicate that while temperatures didn’t reach quite as high as the 100s, this summer was certainly an anomaly in his 30 years of weather watching.

“This is a very unusual year. I don’t recall anything like this,” he said of the hot, dry weather.

Readings from his Meadow Drive home in North Tonawanda indicated temperatures and precipitation levels for the month of July, in particular, broke at least three of his 30-year records.

July 2012 had the highest average high temperature for any month in Kanack’s 30 years of record keeping at 87 degrees. The normal average high for July is 80.4 degrees and the previous record was 86.23 in 2011. July 2012 also had the highest average average temperature for any month at 75.08 degrees, breaking the previous record of 74.9 in 2011.

July 2012 also received the least amount of precipitation for any month in 30 years at 0.99 inches. The normal average precipitation for July is 4.01 inches, and the previous record was 1.09 inches in 1989.

While not record-breaking, June and August’s totals were similarly outside the normal range, Kanack said.

The average high temperature for June 2012 was 79.47 degrees, up 3.74 degrees from the normal of 75.7 degrees. The average high temperature for August 2012 was 83.71 degrees, up 6.21 degrees from the normal of 77.5 degrees.

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