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Sunshine returns, first possible freeze coming

Posted by David Epstein  October 11, 2012 11:20 AM

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After a very gloomy period, sunshine is back for one bright day. This afternoon, brisk westerly winds will continue to filter chilly air into the region. The sunshine will help keep temperatures fairly mild, but the mercury will fall quickly after dark. Tonight will be clear and cool, but not frosty. Tomorrow another front will push offshore and allow even colder air to filer into the region. This cold air will make Saturday the chilliest day of the fall so far and the night before will bring a killing frost to many towns. As we head into the second part of the weekend temperatures will turn mild again and I expect much of next week to see temperatures back into the 60s with no frosty mornings. If you have a forecast question or want to see my tweets follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com

The first week and a half of this month has been pretty lousy weather wise. Normally October provides a great month of weather but so far October 2012 is turning out rather cloudy and damp. One front pushed offshore last night and another one is close on its heels for tomorrow. The first front cleared us out and the second one will really cool us off to start the weekend.

Frosty
Friday night the air mass that will be over us will be cold enough to support temperatures in the upper 20s in the coldest spots to the upper 30s in the city of Boston. box.png The map shows which areas (blue) that are under a freeze watch for tomorrow night. The watch is put up because conditions are favorable for temperatures to fall below 32F between 5AM and 8AM. Remember, temperatures at the ground can be three to five degrees colder than your backyard thermometer which is often several feet above the ground. Boston usually doesn't get a frost until late October or even mid-November so I am not concerned about areas close to the coast.

Tomorrow evening I will cover my plants with row cover. This is a special material that helps keep the frost off. You can use sheets or blankets to achieve similar results but don't use plastic tarps. Plastic traps moisture and can actually cause more harm than good if the temperature goes low enough.

The weekend

After a frosty start Saturday will be bright and cool with highs only in the 50s. Sunday will feature milder temperatures back in the 60s but there will be more clouds. If you can get your plants through tomorrow night, I don't see another frost for at least a week.


Foliage
The leaves are rapidly changing and far northern areas are now past peak. Saturday will be a great day for foliage viewing as the colors are strong in many parts of southern New England and the sunshine will be bright. October 11th Foliage.gif Leave drop is high to the north and still low in southern areas. I don't see any major wind storms on the horizon so the leaves should come down a bit slower this year.
Gardening tip this week
Leaves are falling and it's time to begin to close down gardens for the season. I am actually starting seeds inside now to plant in my cold frame for the late fall and early winter. You might be surprised how easy it is to continue to grow your own food right through Christmas will just a bit of cover and no electricity. If you want to learn about growing a vegetable garden Mass Hort has a great program called Garden To Table. You can learn about that program and other tips on setting up a garden in the video. This is a great time of year to get your garden ready for spring planting. Don't wait till spring.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this blog or any others. Please follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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