Now that we are heading into the middle of September, the weather is starting to turn cooler, the amount of daylight is getting shorter, and the threat of frost continues to increase. Up through this point, we have already had three instances of frost advisories in the Northwoods and temperatures that have touched the 32 degree mark. Mid-September into early October is usually when the growing season comes to an end in the Wisconsin River Valley, of course the farther north you reside, the quicker the threat of frost of freeze conditions invades. For example, Eagle River and Phillips on average have their first frost occur September 13th-19th, while Wausau usually sees frost anywhere from the last few days of September through October 3rd. How about the rest of the region? Here's a link to the Average 1st Freeze from the Milwaukee NWS. Keep in mind, the exact date can vary from one year to the next, all depending on what kind of weather pattern we are in across the Western Great Lakes.
Of course if you want to prevent your plants from being succumb to frosty conditions there are a few options. For those plants that are in pots and can be moved indoors, that would be the way to go on nights when a frost advisory is issued for your area. For those that are staying put out in the garden, you can put blankets or large plastic bags over that tender vegetation, and even water them prior to nightfall, which may help keep the soil just a little warmer. Usually when frost is possible, that means that temperatures will drop to our just below freezing for an hour or two before climbing after sunrise. On the other hand, if freeze warnings are issued, that means that temperatures will likely fall below 32, into the 20s and stay in this temperature range for at least 3 or 4 hours. In these cases, even if you covered those outdoor plants, it probably is going to be the end of the line for them.
The ideal set up for frost to develop is to have a cool air mass in place, with a mostly clear sky and light winds, which usually happens when high pressure is building in across the Badger State. The best way to keep you ahead of when the threat of frost is possible it to tune in to our weathercasts on NewsChannel 7 and our 24/7 digital weather channel, which you can also view right here on the webchannel by clicking the "Live Video" link on the main page.
Enjoy the warm weather while it lasts!
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