The meteorological fall began Tuesday, September 1 and the autumnal equinox occurs September 23, leaving many in the trade looking for temperatures to really start cooling down. Below you will find some guesstimates, the maps show the date when selected cities see their average low temperature first dip to 50 degrees or lower. Of course for producers, talk of low temperatures quickly brings the conversation to early-freezes. The second map shows the average date of first freezes around the country. Keep in mind, that these are average dates. Different weather conditions each year can make the first freeze occur earlier or later (sometimes much earlier or later) than what is shown in a given region.
Northern Plains and Upper Midwest – September 15:The average first freeze occurs sometime around Sept. 15 for much of the Rockies and Intermountain West, as well as parts of the northern Plains and upper Midwest (closer to the international border). Some inland areas of the upper Great Lakes also see their first freeze around Sept.15.
West and Midwest – October 1:A large swath of the West and Midwest sees their first freeze sometime near October 1. This includes much of the Great Basin, northern Plains, upper Midwest and parts of the upper Great Lakes. Most of the Adirondacks and Catskills in New York experience 32-degree temperatures around October 1, along with the Appalachians from west-central Pennsylvania down into eastern West Virginia. The majority of New England also gets its first freeze around October 1, on average.
Northern Southwest, Central Plains, Smokey Mountains – October 15:A large area of the country averages the first freeze in mid-October. Parts of the northern Southwest, much of the central Plains, parts of the upper and mid-Mississippi Valley, much of the Great Lakes, the northern Ohio Valley and a large swath of the Northeast generally reach 32 degrees around Oct. 15. The Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina also have their first freeze near Oct. 15, as well as the Shenandoah Valley of western Virginia and much of West Virginia.
Southwest, Southern Plains, Ohio Valley, Northeast – November 1:Parts of the Southwest, southern Plains, mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, and mid-Atlantic don’t see their first freeze, on average, until Nov. 1. The major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor, from New York City to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C., are included in not seeing 32-degree temperatures until about Nov. 1. This is due to the urban heat island effect, keeping cities warmer than their suburbs overnight.
Southwest, Southeast – November 15:Parts of Southern California, the Southwest, southern Plains, lower Mississippi Valley and Southeast don’t see their first freeze until November 15 on average. The southernmost portions of these regions may not see 32-degree temperatures at all, such as southeastern Texas, Louisiana, southern Mississippi and Alabama, the coastal Carolinas, southern Georgia and all of Florida.