(WETM) – The weather in the Twin Tiers is turning colder and it is happening quickly. We have already seen some low temperatures well into the 30s. Frost is on the way, but when should we expect it.
Before we answer when we can expect it, we should discuss what frost is and the process in which it is created. Frost is frozen dew. Dew is created with the temperature and dew point temperature equal to each other and allows water vapor in the air to condense into liquid water. That liquid water then falls onto the surface, the grass, cars, anything that is on the ground.
Frost is created when that liquid water freezes. The freezing point of freshwater at sea level is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. As we approach late September and the beginning of October we will be seeing patchy frost throughout the Twin Tiers, especially in rural valley areas as they tend to get colder more quickly than urbanized areas.
The climatological date of the median (average) first 32-degree freeze for this area ranges from October 1st to October 20th, as shown in the map above. A 32-degree freeze is where frost is formed on a more widespread basis. Most of the area can expect to see the first 32-degree freeze between October 1st and October 10th.
Another freeze that we have climatological data for is the first 28-degree freeze. This freeze will obviously create frost on the surface of the ground due to the colder temperature. This freeze, if it happens abnormally early, can cause widespread damage to plants. Also called a “moderate” or “hard freeze” the surface freezes along with a layer of the topsoil of the ground. According to the map above, the first hard freeze ranges between October 11th through October 31st.
When attempting to protect plants from a 32-degree freeze, simply lay some fabric over the plants, do not use plastic as that can suffocate the plant. It is very difficult to protect from a hard freeze as the water inside the plant will often freeze along with the surface liquid water.