Spring 2013 Frost/Freeze Recap

The late-April through mid-May time frame typically features the last occurrence of spring freezing temperatures and/or frost in South Central Nebraska and North Central Kansas...(Click HERE for a map of the 30-county NWS Hastings County Warning Area)

- Spring 2013 Frost/Freeze Forecast Update (updated May 12th): Although it's still not completely out of the question that sub-freezing temperatures could return to parts of the area this month, computer model projections suggest it is highly unlikely. This is good news for those with gardening/agricultural interests, as the recent sub-freezing temperatures observed during the first week of May already occurred at least 1-2 weeks later than the average last spring freeze date, officially marking 2013 as a late-starting growing season. Please see the table below for more details on last spring freeze dates observed across the area this Spring...

**NWS HASTINGS WILL ISSUE FROST ADVISORIES OR FREEZE WARNINGS THROUGH THE REST OF THE SPRING AS CONDITIONS WARRANT**

Based on 30-year averages, the average last spring freeze (32° or colder) date ranges from around April 20th in far southeast locations such as Beloit KS, around April 25th in central locations such as Grand Island and Hastings, and around May 4th for far northern and western sites such as Greeley and Cambridge (see graphics below for a visual representation). However, please note there is often tremendous variation from year-to-year and between any given location across the area.


Before continuing, here are a few definitions:

- Frost occurs when there is a solid deposition of water vapor from the air. Frost will form when solid surfaces are cooled below the dew point. An air temperature range of 33 to 36 degrees is usually needed to initiate frost formation. Minor damage is possible to some plants. One must keep in mind that a frost is not guaranteed at these temperatures if moisture in the air is lacking. The range of average dates for the last occurrence of spring frost across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas is between May 1 - May 16.

- Freeze occurs when the air temperature drops to 32 degrees or lower. A freeze will result in significant damage to many unprotected plants, especially if the temperature remains at the freezing mark for a few hours
. The range of average dates for the last freeze of the spring across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas is between
April 20 - May 4.


- Hard Freeze occurs when the temperature reaches 28 degrees or lower for at least a few hours. It usually means that many types of plants and most seasonal vegetation will be destroyed. The range of average dates for the last hard freeze of the spring across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas is between April 8 - April 28.

 

The Midwestern Regional Climate Center produces maps that update DAILY, depicting the most recent date that sites across the region fall to at least 32 or 28 degrees this spring.
  Check out statewide maps of Kansas and Nebraska by clicking on the images below. Again, these maps automatically update daily, and originate from the
Midwest Climate Watch Website.
 

(Click images to enlarge)

KS: most recent occurrence of 32 degrees or below this spring

NE: most recent occurrence of 32 degrees or below this spring

 

KS: most recent occurrence of 28 degrees or below this spring

NE: most recent occurrence of 28 degrees or below this spring

 


 

Detailed Frost/Freeze Table and Climatological Maps:

Below is a table and set of maps, primarily focused on average dates for the last occurrence of particular frost/freeze thresholds in the spring. However, please keep in mind there is sometimes tremendous variation from year-to-year and between any given location across the area. Regarding the table, here are some things to consider:

- The first column lists 9 chosen locations in south central Nebraska and 4 in north central Kansas with long histories of being NWS Cooperative Observer sites (except for Grand Island and Hastings airports, which are automated systems). This is just a small sampling of dozens of observing locations within the NWS Hastings coverage area, and these sites are generally organized from north to south down the column. Click HERE for a map of the 30-county NWS Hastings County Warning Area.

- The second column shows the average date of the latest observance of 28, 32, and 36 degree temperatures during the 30-year period from 1981-2010. Please note that differences in average freeze dates between these locations are NOT purely a function of "north versus south", but also depend on a variety of factors including local terrain. For example, Alton, KS, in Osborne County is typically prone to later freezes in the spring than some locations farther north, thanks to efficient cold air drainage along the South Fork Solomon River valley.

- The third and fourth columns reveal the earliest last freeze date and latest freeze date (32 degrees or colder) observed during the past 30 years, covering the period 1983-2012. It is readily apparent that the phrase "average freeze date" is quite relative, as most sites have a 5-7 week difference between the earliest and latest dates. For some of these locations, the incredibly early last freeze of spring 2012 between March 9th-11th was among the earliest on record. On the opposite spectrum, for many locations, the latest freeze during the past 30 years fell between May 13-29. 

- The final column on the right reveals the date that 28, 32 and 36-degree thresholds are LAST met in SPRING 2013 within the area. A blue-shaded date indicates that a location met one of these temperature thresholds at least 7 days later than the average date, while red-shaded dates indicates that this threshold was last met at least 7 days earlier than the average date. It is readily apparent that in spring 2013 most locations recorded their last freezing temperatures at least slightly later than normal. The "?" next to a date means that it's still possible these thresholds could be met again this spring, although the probabilities are rapidly dwindling.


 Climatological Spring Freeze Data For South Central Nebraska and North Central Kansas
(average dates based on 30-year observations from 1981-2010)

 

Average Last
Date of...

28 Degrees
32 Degrees
36 Degrees

Earliest Last Date
1983-2012 of...

32 Degrees
or Colder

Latest Date
1983-2012 of...

32 Degrees
or Colder

Latest Spring 2013
Occurence of...

28 Degrees
32 Degrees
36 Degrees

Greeley

April 28
May 4
May 16

April 15, 2007

May 19, 2000

May 3 (26°)?
May 6 (30°)?
May 6 (30°)?

Osceola

April 14
April 26
May 4

March 31, 1991

May 15, 1983

April 25 (25°)?
May 4 (29°)?

May 6 (33°)?

Kearney Airport
(NWS Observer)

April 22
April 30
May 10

April 9, 2003

May 28, 1992

April 24 (25°)?
May 6 (32°)?
May 6 (32°)?

Grand Island
(Airport)

April 13
April 25
May 4

April 5, 1984

May 13, 1997

April 24 (27°)?
May 3 (30°)?
May 6 (35°)?

York

April 8
April 21
April 29

April 1, 1991

May 13, 1997

May 3 (27°)?
May 3 (27°)?
May 6 (33°)?

Cambridge

April 23
May 3
May 14

April 14, 1985

 May 29, 1992

April 25 (26°)?
May 6 (32°)?
May 6 (32°)?

Holdrege

April 13
April 28
May 6

April 9, 2003
April 9, 1985

May 29, 1992

May 4 (23°)?
May 6 (31°)?
May 6 (31°)?

Hastings
(NWS Office/Airport)

April 14
April 24
May 2

March 9, 2012

May 14, 2004

May 3 (28°)?May 3 (28°)?
May 3 (28°)?May 3 (28°)?
May 6 (33°)? / May 6 (33°)?

Hebron

April 12
April 25
May 3

March 10, 2012

May 13, 1997

April 24 (22°)?
May 3 (30°)?
May 6 (36°)?

Smith Center KS

April 9
April 22
May 2

March 10, 2012

May 15, 1983

April 24 (22°)?
May 3 (29°)?
May 4 (35°)?

Alton KS

April 20
April 29
May 9

April 8, 1985

May 29, 1992

May 3 (25°)?
May 6 (31°)?
May 6 (31°)?

Plainville KS

April 12
April 25
May 5

March 10, 2012

May 11, 2008

May 4 (26°)?
May 4 (26°)?
May 4 (26°)?

Beloit KS

April 8
April 20
May 1

March 11, 2012

May 6, 1989

April 24 (24°)?
May 3 (30°)?

May 4 (34°)?

 


 

 Median Dates of Last Spring Freeze and Hard Freeze (1981-2010)
(Midwestern Regional Climate Center)

(click images to enlarge)

Median Date of Last 32-Degree Freeze Median Date of Last 28-Degree Hard Freeze

 


 

South Central Nebraska and North Central Kansas
Average Last Frost/Freeze Dates (1981-2010)

(click images to enlarge)

Average Last 36-Degree Date (Frost) Average Last 32-Degree Date (Freeze) Average Last 28-Degree Date (Hard Freeze)


 


 

Nebraska Average Date of Last Spring Freeze
(map courtesy NWS Omaha/Valley
)

(click image to enlarge)

Average date of last 32-degree temps in the spring

 

Kansas Average Date of Last Spring Freeze
(courtesy of the
Kansas State Climatologist)

(click to enlarge)

This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.

 



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