Weather update: here comes the cold snap

I’ve written several times about this extra-early spring, and the concern about a late freeze. Well, it’s coming, though not at a 2007 level and not likely to do much damage (at this least weekend). If it was going to happen, it was going to take several strong cold fronts in a row to keep pushing temperatures down, and that’s just what’s happening this week.

Early this week we had a really intense system that pushed temps near 80F with winds of 30-45mph on Monday (which, incidentally, did some damage to our hoophouse including lifting one of the heavy wooden ends right off its rebar foundation). That lead to over 2″ of rain on Tuesday, which thoroughly saturated everything including my partially-poured shed footings, which are now underwater, as are the un-set fencepost holes in the field. We’ve had frosts the last few nights in the valley bottoms as the cold air moves through.

Now here comes the second round, with another strong front bringing an expected 1-2″ rain through end of week and weekend, with temps on Saturday dropping into the upper 20s and a decent chance of snow flurries. We’ll be working to cover and protect the young plants we have out, which are especially sensitive to such temps when they’re very small. This system itself won’t cause anyone too much trouble, because most plants and buds can handle a quick freeze. What made 2007 so bad was four straight nights in a row of well-below-freezing temperatures. Still, notice that we aren’t even IN April yet, but everything is budding and greening up like crazy. This current weather pattern ought to be expected (March is the most likely month for heavy snowfall in Missouri); it’s just that the biota are weeks ahead.

Now that we’ve been knocked back to our seasonal normals of H/L 50s/30s for next week, it doesn’t take much to drop a few more Canadian lows down across Missouri for some serious freezes. Or it could warm up again. There’s a reason they call it weather.

UPDATE: As of Thursday night, that storm system has strengthened, leading to an NWS winter storm watch:

.AN INTENSE EARLY SPRING STORM SYSTEM WILL IMPACT THE NATIONS MIDSECTION SATURDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT. AS THE STORM CENTER TRACKSFROM THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY INTO THE OHIO VALLEY ONSATURDAY…A BAND OF HEAVY SNOW WILL OCCUR TO ITS NORTHWEST. THERE IS STILL SOME UNCERTAINTY IN THE EXACT TRACK OF THIS STORMSYSTEM…BUT AT THIS TIME IT APPEARS HEAVY SNOW WILL IMPACT CENTRAL AND NORTHEAST MISSOURI AND WEST CENTRAL ILLINOIS ON SATURDAY AND SATURDAY EVENING. SNOWFALL AMOUNTS OF 6 INCHES ORGREATER ARE POSSIBLE

UPDATE II: As of Friday morning, this juicy quote appears in the NWS’s online forecast discussion (a semi-internal discussion of the modelling results and forecasts):

NEVER WOULD I HAVE DREAMT THAT I WOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT A MAJOR SNOW EVENT AFTER SUCH A MILD STRETCH OF WEATHER…BUT THIS IS THE MIDWEST AND IT IS STILL MARCH FOR A COUPLE MORE DAYS.

Well, we may not have been calling for heavy snow, but I’ve been posting for weeks that a late storm or spell of winter weather was likely. And here we go…

One thought on “Weather update: here comes the cold snap

  1. I was wondering what your thoughts were on Saturday’s weather. I have some sprouts in the ground and was planning on putting out the rest – plus seeds – this weekend. I’ll go ahead and wait another week. 😉