Can This Fall’s First Frost Happen Tonight?

It’s the middle of October, but the weather feels a lot more like winter. A blast of cold air moved in and left us with chilly morning temperatures on Monday. With more unseasonable cold weather on Tuesday morning, is it possible that we could have our first frost of the season? It’s not likely. Yet, it is possible to get a patchy frost in Northwest Arkansas.

A “first frost” can happen in rural areas once the temperature drops below 36° F. Frost becomes more widespread once the temperature falls below the freezing mark.

Typically, Northwest Arkansas will see their first frost during mid-October. The River Valley is usually in early November.

The possible first frost tomorrow morning would be a few days before normal. The average date for the frost is October 19th for Northwest Arkansas and November 5th for the River Valley. This is because our overnight lows don’t drop into the 30s until late in the fall season. Last year, we didn’t see the light freeze until late October.

The National Weather Service has not issued any frost advisory or freeze warning for our area. Yet, the counties to our north in Missouri are under the advisories. It is possible that these are extended into parts of Northwest Arkansas. This will only happen if we get the right weather conditions tonight.

In order for a frost to occur, the temperatures must drop into the low to mid 30s overnight along with clear skies. There’s one problem with tonight’s forecast that could prevent the frost: the amount of cloud cover. When there are clouds overhead, the temperatures stay constant. But, when the clouds begin to clear, the temperatures will also begin to drop.

If the clouds clear enough tonight, the temperatures in Northwest Arkansas will drop into the low 30s. This will make frost much more likely.

If the first frost does not happen tonight, it likely won’t happen during the rest of the week, as morning temperatures soar back into the 40s.

It’s always a good idea to cover plants if a frost is likely.


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