First Freeze

In the early morning hours on Monday, clear skies, a lack of wind and dry air allowed temperatures to fall within range of freezing across the region. The BWI-Marshall 8:00am observation reported a temperature of 32 degrees. This was an “hourly” reading and the actual low may be a degree or two colder. The official low will be announced Monday evening.

Most of the “hourly” lows across the region were in the low-mid 30s, cold enough to indicate that frost and freeze conditions were likely widespread. The exceptions were locations that are near the Bay and in densely populated urban areas where lows were recorded in the 40s.

The growing season has probably ended in many areas as temperature sensitive plants were nipped by the frost. This fact may take  a little pressure off of the fact that the area is short on rain. The last significant precipitation was at the end of September. Only .12″ of rain has been measure at BWI-Marshall in October. With no rain in today’s forecast, that will put the area almost 2 inches behind the 30 year average.

While the growing season may have ended, the dry conditions and leaf fall bring a risk of wild fires. A weak cool front will cross the area Tuesday and will, by and large, be dry. It will become windy after the front passes and this will increase the risk of the spread of any fires that may start.

On last Sunday’s “Sunday Gardener” Carrie Engel and I made mention of the fact that it is important to water newly planted shrubs as winter approaches. Even if a newly planted shrub is going into dormancy, the roots are getting established and need adequate water. The recent dry conditions make watering all the more important for the successful overwintering of new plantings.

Some rain relief may be in sight. At the end of the week a storm system is expected to develop along coastal areas of the Mid Atlantic region.

NOAA GFS Computer Forecast Model Saturday, Oct 26

The image above shows one computer forecast for the positions of weather systems on Saturday. If this model is on track it shows that this developing storm is the best shot at rain that the area has had since the end of September.

John Collins

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