By Niki Morock, meteorologist
Did you have frost on your pumpkin this morning? Growing up in the deep south, that’s how I knew that fall weather had settled in. Of course, if you don’t have pumpkins, grass works just as well.
By the calendar, climatological autumn started on September 1, and astronomical autumn began with the Equinox on September 22. However, you know in the south, we still wear white after Labor Day, a white Christmas usually equates to the dominant color of decorations, and you don’t need a sweater at a football game until at least mid-October.
This morning was the first one this season that we had state-wide reports of temperatures cold enough for frost to form. How does today measure up to the average day for first frost? It’s a little on the early side for Wake County. I couldn’t find specific dates for Wake Forest or Creedmoor because neither has an official reporting station, so I had to go with the Raleigh-Durham airport’s numbers.
According to a North Carolina State Extension Publication, “Average First Fall Frost Dates for Selected North Carolina Locations,” the average date of first frost at RDU is October 27. Today is 9 days ahead of that date, so it is a little earlier than normal.
I’m sure someone reading this is wondering what an early frost means with respect to the winter. It really doesn’t mean anything. Frost in our area just shows that we experienced a cold night with not much wind and enough moisture on surfaces to freeze. The high pressure that is controlling our weather this week has set us up for dramatically cool temperatures overnight. As humidity starts to rise this weekend, our nighttime temperatures will start to creep back up, and it could be a while before we see frost again.