Six weeks into spring, and some locations in south central Nebraska and north central Kansas are still wondering if spring has really "sprung".

Climatologically, the last 10 days of April and the first week of May are considered the "average" time of the last spring freeze in this region of Nebraska and Kansas. A freeze is considered to occur when the temperature dips to 32 degrees or less. Such temperatures may impair the development of tender vegetation. A "killing" freeze would be when the temperature drops to 28 degrees or less.


Looking at 2008, about half of the area has passed the average last spring freeze date. Nearly all of the area has passed the last "killing" freeze date.  In the last 38 years, freezing temperatures have been recorded as late as the end of May in some cases (May 30th in Gothenburg). Even killing freezes (28 degrees or less) have happened as late as mid-May at a few locations (May 18th at Greeley).

The tables below present historical, average and probabilistic freeze information at 11 locations in south central Nebraska and north central  Kansas. The historical information dates back to 1970 and the average and probabilistic information reference the 1971 to 2000 period of record.


Table of Historical and Average Spring Freeze Dates (1970 to 2008)

Location Average Date of 32 degree temperature or less since 1970
Latest date of 32 degree temperature or less since 1970

Average Date of 28 degree temperature or less since 1970

Latest date of 28 degree  temperature or less since 1970
Beloit April 21
 May 11 April 19 May 3
Smith Center
April 21
May 15 April 9 May 3
Hastings April 23
May 14 April 12 May 3
Grand Island April 25
May 15 April 14 May 8
Plainville April 25
May 15 April 13 May 7
Hebron April 25
May 15 April 12 April 30
Holdrege April 26
May 29 April 14 May 3
Osceola April 30
May 15 April 14 May 10
Greeley
May 3 May 19 April 29 May 18
Kearney May 4
May 28 April 20 May 10
Gothenburg May 5
May 30 April 23 May 14


Table of Spring Freeze Probability Dates (1971-2000)

Probability of Last Spring Freeze (32 degrees or less)

    Location       
90% Chance 50% Chance 10%  Chance
Beloit April 8 April 21 May 3
Smith Center April 7 April 22 May 6
Hastings April 8 April 22 May 6
Grand Island April 12 April 26 May 10
Plainville April 11 April 26 May 11
Hebron April 10 April 25 May 11
Holdrege April 12 April 27 May 12
Osceola April 13 April 27 May 12
Greeley April 25 May 6 May 16
Kearney April 16 May 1 May 15
Gothenburg April 22 May 4 May 16

Note: Differences between the "average" date of the last spring freeze and the "50%" probability of the last spring freeze likely arise due to slightly different length in datasets (30 year normals vs. 38 years of data).

 


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.