Mid-May Cold Wave Could Bring Frost

Published May 07, 2013

| AccuWeather

There is a chance that yet another cold wave slated for the middle of May could have just the right conditions for patchy frost in parts of the Midwest and Northeast.

The period for potential frost would span Sunday to Monday (May 12-13) over part of the Midwest and would settle eastward Monday to Tuesday (May 13-14).

The concern would be for blossoming fruit trees, berry bushes and emerging tender growth as well as flowers and vegetable plants that home gardening enthusiasts may have put out.

The risk of a frost in this case is mostly likely to occur only during one night.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "Last May brought an atypical frost during an atypical spring."

There were several nights of below-freezing temperatures that took a heavy toll on fruit trees, berries and other tender plants.

Fortunately, the overall chilly weather this spring has much of this activity developing at a much slower pace compared to the incredible sprout-driven warmth from last spring.

"During this time of the year, it typically takes more than just a push of chilly air to produce favorable conditions for frost and when it occurs it is usually for just a single night," Anderson said.

The short nights limit the time for the air to cool down this time of the year.

Dry air, clear skies and light winds must coincide with a cold air mass for a frost or freeze.

In this case, it appears the most likely swath of ideal conditions will not coincide with the core of the chilliest air, except for over a small area perhaps.

The center of high pressure producing the calm, clear conditions is aiming more for the central Plains to the Ohio Valley, while the coldest air slices across the upper Great Lakes to northern New England.

The pattern will bring chilly daytime highs for the middle of May over the Upper Midwest to the Northeast, and in many cases, that chill will be accompanied by some cloud cover, wind and even shower activity.

However, it is that wind, clouds and moisture that may lower the threat for frost just a bit in the more typical northern areas.

Farther south, the air may chill out under the cover of darkness, but any near-freezing temperatures could be limited to only a couple of hours.

Since there is a chance the chilly air could get together with clear and calm conditions in part of the Midwest and Northeast, AccuWeather.com will continue to monitor the potential for a mid-May frost and freeze.