Monday, March 25, 2013

How rare is this?
A freeze this late in March? What’s going on here? Assuming that we do hit a 'freeze' in metro BR over the next morning or two, just how rare is that? The "average date" of the last spring freeze for Baton Rouge has long-since passed – that was more than one month ago, on February 24th!
March freezes certainly can’t be called rare, but by the time we get this late in the month, that’s a different issue. We found only five Baton Rouge freezes after March 25th ... and that’s going all the way back to 1892! That’s just five freezes this late in the season in more than 130 years, or about one every 25 years -- maybe not “rare” but certainly “not to be expected!”
Of those five late season freezes, two occurred in April. The latest freeze ever for the ‘Red Stick’ was on April 13th in 1940. The second April freeze occurred on April 4, 1987 -- as a matter of fact, that April 1987 freeze is the last time we’ve seen a BR freeze after March 25th -- that’s going back 26 seasons! And what about the other three post-March 25th freezes?
March 29, 1899 ... and an extra-rare back-to-back pair of freezes on March 26 and 27, 1955! How about that for irony? Our current forecast calls for only the second time ever to have back-to-back freezes this late in the season (Tuesday & Wednesday mornings) -- and they happen to fall on the exact same dates as the only other time on the record books ... 68 years ago to the day!

For Baton Rouge, even if we do get to freezing, it won't last very long on either morning. And we should keep in mind that it takes more than an hour or two of temps at/below 32° to have any serious impact, especially if the winds are light/near-calm. This is especially true given that we did get into the upper 50°s under sunny skies today (warming the soils) and will be there again tomorrow.

So don’t worry about the pipes.

For metro BR most of you can expect no more than a couple of hours near freezing … however, durations will be longer to BR’s north and east, and viewers near and north of the LA/MS state line can expect lows in the upper 20°s by Tuesday’s sunrise.

For most backyards, moving the extra-tender plants under an extended overhang or under the carport will be sufficient to protect them. A light sheet over low plants can be used if you are really concerned about buds freezing. Healthy, well-developed trees with branches well above the ground should be okay.

By Wednesday afternoon, the winds will come around from the east and southeast, and we will begin a slow-but-steady warming trend, taking us back into the 70°s before the end of the work week. Our forecast remains dry through Friday, with modest rain chances over the Easter weekend. We’ll have more on that later this week.

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