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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It's not too early to start watching for that first frost

Monday, October 1, 2012

Leaves are turning. Political fires are burning. Football is in full swing.

So can the first frost be far behind?

Apparently not.

Indianapolis weather forecasters are predicting that a first frost could come as soon as Sunday morning, which is Oct. 7.

And that's pretty much on schedule for the Greencastle area, according to National Weather Services (NWS) statistics.

The average date of a low temperature of 36 degrees occurring in Greencastle -- which translates to patchy frost being possible, especially in outlying and low-lying areas -- is Oct. 7.

The earliest date that has occurred is Sept. 14 (in 1923), while the latest date it has happened has been Nov. 4 (in 1971).

Meanwhile, the normal first date of a low temperature of 32 degrees occurring in Greencastle is Oct. 20, which translates to isolated pockets of hard freeze being possible.

The earliest date that has occurred is Sept. 23 (in 1995), while the latest that has happened is Nov. 23 (way back in 1902).

Widespread hard freeze is likely with a low temperature of 28 degrees of lower, which normally occurs Oct. 31 in Greencastle, the National Weather Service says.

The earliest that has happened locally was Sept. 26 (in 1928), while the latest it has occurred came on Nov. 28 in 1899, just four years after the NWS started keeping records in Indiana.

Incidentally, the average last date of the spring's final freeze in Greencastle is April 20, although it has occurred as late as May 25 (in 1925) and as early as March 25 (in 1998).

Meanwhile, when September came to an end on Sunday, it did so as the fifth-wettest September on record.

Rainfall of 7.73 inches for the month, as recorded at Indianapolis (officially 6.47 inches in Greencastle), trailed only 2003 (10.37 inches, most of which occurred on the Labor Day weekend that year), 1926 (9.33 inches), 1896 (8.17 inches) and 1989 (8.06 inches).

In contrast to the drought conditions that persisted over May, June and July, the period Aug. 1-Sept. 30 also ranks as the fifth-wettest August-September period of all time, the NWS reports.

The two-month total of 14.24 inches trails only 1989 (16.11 inches), 2003 (15.01 inches), 1921 (14.80 inches) and 1926 (14.30 inches).

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