Late season risk of frost in the area Tuesday night


(WOWK) — Once again the temperatures in the area are the biggest weather story of the week as we expect below normal marks for quite some time.

In fact, it may be so cold Tuesday night that we could deal with frost issues once again for the growing season.

Predictor model output of lows Tuesday night/Wednesday morning

Frost will be possible in the areas mainly away from the rivers, away from the cities and away from the ridgetops. Sheltered valleys are the most likely areas for frost. If and when an advisory is issued, these are the steps to take if you want to protect your plants. It should be noted we are not thinking about a hard freeze but a possible few hours with exposure to frost for plants.

As for where frost can form most readily, it’s in the zone between the rivers and the ridge tops. Warm air rises and sits on top of the ridges and the water in the rivers warms the air slightly. The image below shows the most likely areas to see frost development in a normal setup in our area. Illustration courtesy NWS Jackson, KY.

From NWS Jackson, KY: “Idealized illustration of cold pool and thermal belt structure typically found during clear, calm nights in the mountainous terrain of east Kentucky.  Also illustrated is an example of temperature modification due to a body of water, in this case a small lake.

Each passing day pushes us to, and likely past, the average last frost. Different sources provide different dates but one of the latest frosts on record is actually June 22 in Ashland, KY in the WOWK area.

… During the 30 year period from 1981 to 2010, the median date of last frost in the Coal Field valley and eastern Bluegrass regions runs from April 28th to May 3rd.  In the more sheltered valleys away from rivers and larger bodies of water, the median date of last frost can run from May 3rd to as late as May 14th.  However, on the ridges in the Coal Field region the median date of last frost is as early as April 18th.  Last frosts have been observed as late as June 22nd at the Stearns and Ashland stations, but more consistently have occurred around June 1st at the majority of Coal Field valley and eastern Bluegrass stations. The earliest date of last frost is in early April at the majority of the locations used in this study.

NWS Jackson KY

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