Freeze warning looms over region, gardeners warned to protect plants
While Jack Frost nipped a bit at the Red River Valley overnight Sunday, it's likely to take a bigger bite tonight. A freeze warning is in effect from 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. Tuesday. The National Weather Service is forecasting widespread frost overni...
While Jack Frost nipped a bit at the Red River Valley overnight Sunday, it's likely to take a bigger bite tonight.
A freeze warning is in effect from 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The National Weather Service is forecasting widespread frost overnight, with low temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees, although some low-lying areas near the Canadian border could drop into the low 20s, according to Bill Barrett, hydrometeorological technician.
The lowest temperature recorded in the region early Monday was 28 degrees at Langdon, N.D., in the heart of the region's canola production.
While canola is highly susceptible to frost, the recent cold temperatures may have helped the early-emerging canola.
"At this point, I don't think there's any damage. Tonight's the night where there could possibly be some damage," said Bryan Hanson, research agronomist at North Dakota State University's Langdon Experiment Station.
Horticulturalists are warning gardeners to cover susceptible plants, especially annual flowers, as well as garden vegetables, especially such as tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and peppers.
"Basically for newly planted annuals, about all you can really do is cover everything planted into the ground," said Tim Shea of Tim Shea's Nursery and Landscaping.
Blankets work best, according to Steve Sagaser, extension horticulturalist at the NDSU extension office in Grand Forks.
"Don't use clear plastic," he said, adding that some vegetables that can tolerate a little bit of frost, including beets, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce and peas.
Widespread rain and some snow fell in the valley and beyond Sunday and into Monday.
The highest amounts, including rain and melted snow, recorded by the weather service in the 24-hour period ending at 7 a.m. Monday were: 2.55 inches near Lankin, N.D.; 2.33 inches at Michigan, N.D.; 2.16 inches at Argyle, Minn.; 2.14 inches near Baudette, Minn.; 2.10 inches at Cavalier, N.D., and Hallock, Minn.
The weather service office in Grand Forks recorded 1.87 inches. From May 1 through Sunday, Grand Forks had recorded 3.8 inches of rain, or 2.45 inches above the monthly normal.
After Monday night's expected frost, the weather should improve for the remainder of the week.
The weather service is calling for sunny skies Tuesday, with highs near 55 and winds below 10 mph.
Tuesday night's low temperatures should be about 33 and Wednesday's high temperatures about 66.
"It's kind of disheartening, but it's North Dakota," Sagaser said of the mid-May frost. "We learn to live with it and just do our best."