Portland and L.A. – What’s Different?: Fall

Well, Fall is here now, and, in Portland, unlike L.A., it shows right away. One can see the trees start to turn, and some have actually shown signs as early as late August! However, not all the trees start to turn at the same time. There’s a type of tree that usually turns first here, with the vast majority of them turning and peaking in bright yellow in September. By the second week in October, these trees have usually lost most, if not all, their leaves, while most of the other trees still have theirs and have not yet peaked. Some trees hardly change color at all and just lose their leaves late in the season.

Fall in Gresham. Trees peak at different times!

Fall in Gresham. Trees peak at different times!

Also, in some years, the Fall colors are more, or less, prominent than in others. This can be due to storms that can pass through, making more leaves fall before they can turn fully, to droughts, and even when rain falls and how much. In those years when the colors are most spectacular and no strong winds have come to strip some of the colored leaves off, it is really beautiful here! You can even see patches of yellows and some golds on the hills among the evergreen Douglas Fir and Spruce trees. The overall peak of Fall color is usually the third week of October, and by mid to late November, just about all of the trees that turn have lost their leaves.

Fall in Gresham, Oregon, just outside of Portland.

Fall in Gresham, Oregon, just outside of Portland.

And, the temperatures do cool down, with the occasional bout of what can be called, “Indian Summer”, with temps reaching the high 70’s or low 80’s, in some years. You fist notice this in September, where, while it still can be hot, the heat starts later in the day and backs off sooner in the day and the nights cool down more. Much of September tends to be quite pleasant here. And October really cools down with 90’s gone and 80’s somewhat rare. And the mountains can start seeing decent snow and the start of the ski season at this time, while the mountains in the L.A. area can remain bare through late December! Actually, except for the last two years, I’ve seen daily high temps stop breaking 70 in early October and not reaching 70 again till at least mid March, which for me, who likes cooler weather, this is just fine!

In L.A., on the other hand, September not only feels like August, but can be hotter, especially if the area’s infamous Santa Ana winds come in, often pushing temps up into the 100’s. In fact, September is often one of the hottest months in the area. And October tends not to get too much cooler, though sometimes there can be cool periods in October, usually toward the latter half of the month. But temps of over 100 and the Santa Ana winds can still be present even in October and November in the L.A. area! So, in L.A., Fall doesn’t really feel like Fall, except maybe close to the very end of the season. Even Thanksgiving can be warm, in fact, warm enough to take in a day at the beach!

Redondo Beach 12/30/05

Redondo Beach 12/30/05

And the trees? Well, some do turn, but far fewer than in the Portland area, and these usually don’t start turning until late in the season. A few of the suburbs, such as Pasadena, have more trees that turn, but still not nearly the concentration you’ll find in the Portland area.

Fall and Winter in Southern California.

Fall and Winter in Southern California.

So, in L.A., Fall also doesn’t look like Fall, either.

Fall and Winter are probably the seasons showing the most difference between the two areas.

In L.A., you can celebrate Thanksgiving at the beach, and in Portland, you may be able to go skiing in mid October!

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂

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