As of early Friday morning, the NWS forecast for Sunday-Tuesday shows another classic spring system moving through, with the typical low-pressure cycle of a very warm day followed by storms and a night or two of cold. In this case, we have another chance of snow and predicted lows for Monday night of 26.
One thing I’ve learned in years of closely tracking NWS; their forecasts are pretty good, but they always overestimate the lows associated with a strong cold front (or at least the St Louis office does). Any time you see a system like this, you can virtually guarantee they’re going to keep revising the nightime lows behind the cold front down a few degrees as the system approaches. If I could place bets on this, I’d have my retirement fund in hand. So when I see that they’ve already pegged Monday night for 26, I get real nervous about any vegetation and crops.
We can already tell the difference in our produce from the last few weeks’ readjustment toward cooler, wetter conditions after the absurdly early spring. Other than the peas, most things aren’t growing very fast. The lettuce and beets are just sitting there, going semi-dormant in the frequent cold nights. The beets are of especial concern, because most of them are still just emergent with their tender first leaves. Though they’re generally pretty hardy, a hard mid-20s freeze will hit a lot of plants; even if it just sets them back, it’s a problem.
And that doesn’t take into account all the natural vegetation; many trees are well into their bloom and many animals are becoming active. 2007 had multiple consecutive nights of temps near the teens; we’re not anywhere near that yet, but if this system stays on track you’re going to see a Freeze Warning issued by NWS for Monday.
Chances are we’ll be out there Sunday or Monday with lots of bed sheets, straw, and more to protect the many, many beds we now have in production.
UPDATE: Is there a Reno pool on the NWS that I could invest in? At 5:55AM this morning they posted the following Special Weather Statement:
THE POTENTIAL FOR A HARD FREEZE EXISTS EARLY NEXT WEEK…AN UNUSUALLY COLD AIRMASS IS EXPECTED TO DROP SOUTHWARD OUT OFCANADA EARLY NEXT WEEK IN THE WAKE OF A STRONG EARLY SPRING STORMAND MAY RESULT IN A HARD FREEZE FOR SEVERAL NIGHTS IN A ROW OVERPORTIONS OF THE MID MISSISSIPPI VALLEY. LOW TEMPERATURES IN THE MID TO UPPER 20S OVER PORTIONS OF THEREGION ARE EXPECTED ON SUNDAY NIGHT…AND THIS IS EXPECTED TOCONTINUE INTO MONDAY NIGHT AND TUESDAY NIGHT.THOSE WITH TENDER VEGETATION INTERESTS SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR THELATEST FORECASTS AND STATEMENTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICEAND ALSO FOR POSSIBLE WARNINGS.
I’ve been calling this for over a month now. Reporters, take notice.