WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Another growing season bites the dust (soon)...

Posted October 19, 2009 5:10 p.m. EDT
Updated October 19, 2009 5:14 p.m. EDT

Much of our area saw our first frost of the season last night, which means that the end of the growing season is just around the corner.  Some areas actually dipped to below freezing briefly this morning, but most of the area dodged the cold bullet this time around.

According to the National Weather Service, most areas in central North Carolina see the growing season come to an end by the last week of October or first week of November; although, there can be some give to those dates from year to year.  The table below summarizes the earliest, latest, and average freezes for the Triangle and Fayetteville.

It's interesting to note that we're in an El Niño right now. According to Jeff Orrock with the National Weather Service, that can have an effect on when we see our first freeze. El Niño events tend to make the growing season a touch longer, but that is by no means a hard and fast rule. Says Orrock, "Looking at the limited number of cases, the average first freeze date during El Niño slips back about a week and in some cases 2 weeks. That said, it is worth noting that there have been El Nino years when the first freeze did occur by October 28th."

 EarliestNormal90% (Most)Latest
First freeze information for Central NC (Courtesy: NWS)
RDU InternationalOctober 3 (1974)October 28November 9November 17 (1989)
FayettevilleOctober 8 (1935)November 3November 20November 30 (2003)

Either way, we're looking at another chilly night tonight.  The National Weather Service has issued another frost advisory for Tuesday morning.  If you have tender vegetation growing outside and you want it to keep going for a while longer, best to cover it up!