As tobacco farmers in Granville Co, we're wondering if you have any idea or "gut feeling" about when the first frost might be. Gran Co has a lot of tobacco still in the fields and we were wondering what the extended forecast looks like!
Posted October 7, 2008 7:19 a.m. EDT
MIKE MOSS SAYS: Lynn, It's often very hard to see the first frost of a season coming until just a few days in advance, so trying to make a call on when that will occur any farther ahead is an uncertain prospect at best and has to be taken with a grain of salt.
All those disclaimers aside, here's the best I can do for now - the "normal" date for a first frost (mid 30s or below air temperatures) around the middle of Granville County is somewhere around October 20th, while the normal first freeze (air temperature 32 or below) is around the 27th. Historically, there is about a 12-day "standard deviation" either side of those dates, meaning that about two thirds of the time the event occurs within that time window.
As for this year, the most recent long-range computer models (extending out to about the 17th of the month), along with climate forecasts from the Climate Prediction Center that cover a period out through about the 20th, indicate a tendency toward patterns favoring normal or above normal temperatures. If this holds up, it would lead us to look for a "first frost" that might run a little later than the normals I noted above, meaning sometime more toward late October to early November, while a first freeze might not occur until early to mid November. Bear in mind that it is also possible that the first shot of air cold enough to produce frost can sometimes be cold enough to produce a freeze as well, all on the same morning!