AWIS Weather Forecast Weekend 4/6-4/10

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Dear all,

Many of you have contacted Barclay or me over the last few days and Barclay must have worked his fingers to the bone, posting several forecasts every day. Thank you! In summary: We hoped to get around this, but as it turns out, we will face some pretty cold and wet nights and mornings over the coming days, with rain moving into Raleigh right now!

Is it another Easter Freeze?

Scot Luton from Roper NC was – like many others – concerned to see signs for another freeze on the horizon. The fact that the predicted colder temperatures are incidentally fall on the same dates as the Easter freeze in 2007 made things even more mysterious.

However, neither the conditions we will face over the next few days nor the Easter freeze in 2007 are part of a mystery. In fact they can be explained logically. And more important: they are are not similar, they are rather quite different.

The Easter freeze In April 3-10 2007 was a cold wave and blasted much of the central Plains, Midwest and Southeast with Arctic air. This weather condition affected winter wheat across the central Plains and Midwest, blooming fruits and emerging corn across parts of the Midwest and southern U.S.

Several major factors made this cold wave harmful. March 2007 was exceptionally warm – the second warmest on record nationally. A dominant ridge of high pressure entrenched across the U.S and allowed average monthly temperatures to exceed the average by more than 6°F and caused an early bloom.
However, at the same time, cold air was pushed into Alaska, making it the third coldest month on record there. Now you ask, what has that to do with us…
Well, a lot. In early April, a shift in the upper level of air flow patterns brought this cold Arctic air from Alaska southward directly into the central and Southeastern U.S.
This record-breaking cold air penetrated much of this region from April 4-10 bringing near-record to record cold temperatures, in many places in the upper teens to low twenties for 3-5 subsequent days.

See this link for more information:

Easter Freeze 2007

Situation for the coming days

The situation of the Easter freeze in 2007 was different to what we will experience over the next few days. First of all, the first three months of this year 2018 were no record months. In North Carolina, we were 0.8 F above average temperature, which makes is pretty much: average. So we didn’t experience a stable ridge of high pressure in March, so no cold air was forced to stay in the Arctic.

Secondly, and more importantly, although there is cold air moving in, it’s not at record breaking temperatures (which is good!). Currently a big storm did build up at the lines of a high pressure and a low pressure field. The high pressure field keeps mostly cold air over northeast Canada and the Atlantic, while the low pressure field keeps high temperatures (south). This storm is currently bringing snow to the norther parts of Eastern U.S. and over Friday night, Saturday will move towards the Southeast, bringing snow into Virginia and Maryland, wet snow in south Virginia and the northern parts of North Carolina and rain to most of the rest of the Southeast (see Figure 1).

7 day outlook chart 2 7 day outlook chart 3 7 day outlook chart 4

Figure 1: Percent Chance of Rain/Snow Fall from Sat 4/7/2018- Mon 4/9/2018

The storm also brings wet, cold air from Canada to the Southeast, which joins rain currently moving from Alabama and Mississippi towards the East. The unusual thing about this is, that we will face wet AND cold conditions at the same time (Figure 2, 3)

7 day temp chart 2 7 day temp chart 4 7 day temp chart 6 7 day temp chart 8

Figure 2: Minimum Temperatures for NC from Sat, 04/07/2018 – Tue, 04/10/2018. Sunday and Monday night will be the coldest!

7 day temp chart 2 7 day temp chart 4 7 day temp chart 6 7 day temp chart 8

Figure 3: Minimum Temperatures for VA from Sat, 04/07/2018 – Tue, 04/10/2018.

Which temperature is critical?

As always, the temperatures on your blossoms might be lower to the forecast air temperatures. Freeze and thaw processes in plants are very complex and usually start from within the plant. Our recent experiments on strawberries confirm that. Flowers start to freeze at around 26 F (‘Camarosa’) under low humidity. The receptacle continues to freeze until temperature reach 24-23 F. However, that might be quite different at high humidity conditions. As Barclay indicated correctly, your plants should be protected by now, if the predicted min AIR temperatures are in the low 30s’.


Wet AND cold is a problem for row covers. If you are in a place, where temperatures are dropping below 32 after the rain, please follow Barclay’s recommendations: Let it rain on the covers and have a secondary protection in place! Otherwise covers will freeze and can damage your blossoms.

If temperatures drop, a secondary heat source (sprinkler) will also help to protect your blooms.

5-Day Forecast:


Ahoskie-Tri-Cou Albemarle_AP Andrews Asheboro
Asheville_Munic Beaufort-Michae Boone_NC Burlington-Burl
Cape_Hatteras_AG Chapel_Hill-Hor Charlotte Cherry_Point
Clinton_NC Concord_NC Currituck_NC Edenton-Northea
Elizabeth_City Elizabethtown_NC Erwin-Harnett_C Fayetteville_AP
Fort_Bragg/Simm Franklin/Macon_C Gastonia-Gaston Goldsboro_AFB
Goldsboro_NC Greensboro Greenville_AP_NC Hickory
Jacksonville Jacksonville_(A Jefferson_AP_NC Kenansville-Dup
Kill_Devil_Hills Kinston_AP Lexington-David Lincolnton_AP
Louisburg_NC Lumberton_AP_NC Mackall_AAF Manteo/Dare_Co
Maxton Mcalf_Bogue_Fiel Monroe_AP_NC Morganton-Morga
Mount_Airy-Moun New_Bern North_Wilkesbor Oxford_NC
Piney_Island_Bom Pope_AFB Raleigh-Durham Reidsville_AP
Roanoke_Rap_AP Roanoke_Rapids_R Rockingham_NC Rocky_Mount-Wils
Roxboro_AP Rutherfordton Salisbury-Rowan Sanford_NC
Shelby_AP_NC Smithfield_AP Southern_Pines Southport_NC
Statesville-Sta Tarboro_AP Wadesboro_AP Washington-Warr
Whiteville_NC Wilmington_AP_NC Winston-Salem


Abingdon Ashland_VA Charlottesville Chesapeake-Ches
Culpeper Danville Dublin/New_Riv Emporia_VA
Farmville Fentress_Naval_A Fort_Belvoir/Da Fort_Eustis/Fel
Franklin/J_B_Ro Hillsville Hot_Springs/Ing Jonesville_AP
Langley_AFB Leesburg/Godfre Louisa-Louisa_C Lynchburg
Manassas_Muni(A Marion/Wythev Martinsville Mecklenburg/Bru
Melfa/Accomack Newport_News Norfolk_Hampton_ Norfolk_NAS
Norfolk_VA Oceana Orange_VA Petersburg_(AWO
Quantico Richlands_AP Richlands_VA Richmond
Richmond_Chester Roanoke Shannon_Arpt Stafford_AP_VA
Staunton-Shenan Suffolk-Suffolk Tappahannock_AP Virginia_Tech_A
Wakefield_AP Wallops_Island Warrenton_Fauqui Washington_Dulle
West_Point_VA Williamsburg_VA Winchester_Rgnl Wise/Lonesome_P


Aberdeen Andrews_AFB Annapolis_Naval Baltimore_Sci_Ce
Baltimore/Wash Cambridge/Dorche College_Park_AP Cumberland_AP
Easton_MD Fort_Meade Frederick_MD Gaithersburg_AP
Hagerstown_AP Leonardtown Middle_River Oakland_MD_AP
Ocean_City_AP Patuxent_River Salisbury Stevensville_AP
St_Inigoes/Webst Washington_DC_AP Westminster_AP


Aiken_AP Anderson_Co_Air Barnwell_AP Beaufort_Cnty_AP
Beaufort_SC Bennettsville_Je Camden_AP Charleston_Exec_
Charleston_Muni Cheraw_AP Chester_AP Clemson-Clemson
Columbia-Columb Columbia/McEnti Columbia_Metro Conway_AP
Darlington Florence_SC Georgetown_AP_SC Greenville_Donal
Greenville_Down Greenville-Spart Greenwood-Green Hartsville_AP
Hilton_Head_AP Kingstree_AP Lancaster-McWhir Laurens_AP
Manning_AP Marion_AP_SC Moncks_Corner_AP Mount_Pleasant_A
Myrtle_Beach Newberry_AP North_Myrtle_Be Orangeburg-Oran
Pickens_AP Rock_Hill Spartanburg_Down Summerville_AP
Sumter_AP Sumter_SC Walterboro_AP Winnsboro_AP


Albany_Municipa Alma/Bacon_Co Americus_AP Athens_Municipa
Atlanta/DeKalb Atlanta/Fulton Atlanta_Intl_Ar Atlanta_Paulding
Augusta/Bush_Fi Augusta_Daniel_F Bainbridge_GA Blakely_AP
Brunswick_GA Brunswick/Glync Canton_GA Carrollton_AP
Cartersville_AP Claxton_AP Columbus_GA Covington_GA_AP
Dalton-Dalton_M Douglas_Muni Dublin/WHBarron Fitzgerald_AP
Fort_Benning Ft_Stewart/Wrig Gainesville_AP_G Greensboro_GA
Homerville_AP Hunter_(AAF) Jesup_AP La_Grange
Lakeland Lawrenceville_AP Macon_AP Marietta
Marietta/Cobb Milledgeville_AP Moultrie_Muni_AP Newnan-Newnan_C
Peachtree_City Rome_GA Savannah Statesboro_GA
Swainsboro_AP Sylvania_AP_GA Thomaston_AP Thomasville_AP
Thomson_GA Tifton_AP Valdosta Valdosta/Moody
Vidalia Warner_Robins_A Washington_GA Washington_GA
Waycross_AP Winder_AP

As always I hope that helps and I hope we all get safe through the coming days. Please contact Barclay, me or your local extension agent if you have questions.