First Freeze Comes Early

First Freeze Comes Early

The first freeze came early this September for interior New England.
Preliminary minimums for air temperatures 09/17/13
Preliminary minimums for air temperatures 09/17/13
Cool high pressure builds in through Wednesday, September 18
Cool high pressure builds in through Wednesday, September 18
*Scrape scrape scrape*

The sounds of fall/winter were back temporarily Tuesday morning as an early-season freeze hit the North Country and people warmed their cars up and scraped their windshields. Temperatures dipped to nippy numbers September 17, 2013 under a clear sky. The mercury dipped to the 32° mark for the first time this summer/fall season (for many towns) and it did so a little early.

Thanks to our wide array of micro climates nestled across northern New England, our first freeze this time of the year is highly dependent on where you are. For instance the first freeze in the Adirondacks happens around the first week of September. However for the Champlain Valley the first freeze doesn't come (on average) until the first week of October. In fact on Lake Champlain's islands that first 32° reading of the season normally happens around the second week of October.

This year it came early, behind a strong cold front which moved through the Northeast on Monday. This cold front was a sharp one. Locally at our Colchester, Vermont studio it dropped the temperature seven degrees in thirty minutes Monday morning. The air behind that frontal boundary held high temperatures in the 50s Monday while an average high for September 16 is around 70°. A chilly afternoon set the stage for some cold numbers on the thermometer Tuesday morning, September 17.

The biggest impact an early-season freeze has is to vegetation still in the ground. This ends the growing season (if it gets cold enough). Tuesday morning low temperatures showed a frost in portions of the Champlain Valley away from the lake, and a pretty solid freeze for northeast New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire as temps ranged from 25-33 degrees.

High pressure will continue to give us cool nights in the upcoming, however the air mass will moderate and warm. Low temperatures Wednesday morning, September 18 will still get frosty in certain areas. The same places that were coldest Tuesday will have the highest threat of frost, ranging from around 30° as a forecast low for Saranac Lake, NY and about 35° in those aforementioned areas. The Champlain Valley will avoid frost, staying around 40°.

-Meteorologist Steve Glazier
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