Crisp air may provide Frost or Freeze warnings this weekend

Cbus Weather Nerd
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Today was a nice day with temps that pushed up into the lower 70s, but a cold front that will enter the area for the start of the weekend with allow a much cooler air mass into our area on Saturday.

Combine that with clearing skies, drier air, and little to no wind to start the day on Sunday, and we could see temperatures plummeting back into the middle to lower 30s in spots.  These will be prime conditions for some frost!

The record on Sunday morning is 28 in Columbus so I think that will be safe in the city.  But with temperatures down in the low to mid 30s, and even some sneaky upper 20s in spots, frost will be likely.

Remember that the surface temperature is recorded on a thermometer that is typically placed at 5-10 feet above the surface, so directly on the ground the temperature can and may be colder than what your backyard weather station reads.

In addition the conditions for Columbus inside of the outerbelt are typically a few degrees warmer than outside of the city.  

Frost/Freeze warnings issued now, but not all year

The National Weather Service runs the Frost/Freeze program for issuing warnings mostly for planting purposes.  Parts of our area start the program at different times too.  

Meaning that in mid-April freeze warnings were only issued for the southern half of the state when a freeze was possible.  Now that we are in late April close to the start of May, every county is now active in the program and will have a warning issued when there is a threat.

When is the latest you can expect freezing temperatures in the spring?

As 2016, just last year serves as a reminder, we can have freezing temperatures as late as the 16th  day of May.

However, less than 1% of all days in Columbus in the Month of May have experienced freezing or subfreezing temperatures.

Below is a list of all the dates in May in Columbus with a freeze:

 dateyearLow
11-May197830°
21-May196330°
31-May197131°
41-May194331°
52-May199430°
62-May196330°
72-May197831°
82-May196132°
93-May197830°
104-May200531°
114-May198631°
124-May196631°
135-May197932°
146-May196829°
156-May195732°
167-May197431°
177-May198932°
187-May197032°
198-May195431°
208-May194732°
219-May198330°
229-May196630°
239-May194730°
249-May192331°
259-May198032°
2610-May196625°
2710-May198332°
2810-May197732°
2916-May201632°
3016-May195932°

It has also snowed about 2 dozen times in the month of May (since record keeping in 1879), however only one time it was measurable:

In May 9th, 1923 we recorded 0.3″ of snowfall, the heaviest in May history.

 dateyearLow
11-May1909Trace
22-May1940Trace
32-May1930Trace
42-May1911Trace
52-May1909Trace
62-May1897Trace
73-May1930Trace
83-May1929Trace
94-May1957Trace
107-May1989Trace
118-May1947Trace
128-May1923Trace
139-May19230.3″
149-May1966Trace
159-May1954Trace
169-May1930Trace
179-May1906Trace
1811-May1966Trace
1914-May1895Trace
2014-May1888Trace
2115-May1904Trace

So when should you wait to be safe for planting (if you haven’t got a head start already)?

We have had a freeze as late as the 16th, and a dusting of snow as late as the 15th.  While it is very unlikely, there is still about a 1% chance that we can see a freeze, frost, or very light snow during the first half of the month of May.

If you have any questions about freezes, frosts, climate or any other weather question, email me, dmazza@wcmh.com

-Dave

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