By late October, much of North Carolina is accustomed to hearing the saying "frost on the pumpkin." Halloween pumpkins across the state with the exception of the mountains did not see much or any frost this year. Only the northern mountains have seen lows around freezing so far this fall. Even Asheville has not dropped to freezing just yet this season.
There is evidence that the frost free season is getting longer across the country including here in North Carolina. The frost free season, often referred to the growing season, is the time between the final freeze of spring and the first freeze of fall.
Climate Central, an independent group of scientists and journalists that studies the impacts of climate change, recently studied the frost free season across the country. They found the average duration of the frost free season is about 15 days longer than it was in the early 20th century. In North Carolina, their analysis found the season is about 22 days longer in Raleigh compared to 1970. Greensboro has seen about a 27 day increase, but Charlotte has seen very little increase in the frost free season.
A longer growing season may seem beneficial, but there are also some concerns. Warmer temperatures allow pests that feed on crops to live longer. A warming climate could also cause a shift in the areas of the country that are most agriculturally productive.
The first freeze of this fall will be much later than average for most of North Carolina. Central and western North Carolina typically see the first freezing temperatures of the season in October. Eastern North Carolina usually sees the first freeze in early November.
As of this post, there are no signs of freezing temperatures outside of the mountains for at least the next week if not longer.
- 7-day forecast
- Read more about Climate Central's study on the frost free season
- Read more about the frost free season in the National Climate Assessment
- Meteorologist Lee Ringer on Facebook
- @LeeRingerWx on Twitter