Tracking Killing Frosts in Spring and Fall

One of the indicators that we are living in a cooling world will be late spring killing frosts in June,  according to an insightful fellow blogger.  I have been looking for an easy way to track and display this information. So far, I have captured this information for Ohio towns across the state. There has been no killing frosts in June at any of these towns in modern history.

What is a killing frost, as opposed to just a light frost? The temperature has to get down to 28º F to kill corn and soybean plants. Temperatures above 28º F don’t kill the entire plant, but will damage the leaves and the upper stem, according to Brian Lang, who is an Iowa State University Extension Field Agronomist.

So, what we are looking for? We are looking for news reports of 28º F temperatures in June. I have set up a Google Alerts for killing frosts reports in the news for both the spring and fall. I am now looking for a data base that lists early fall freezes in Ohio and other states to be added to this data base.

The time between the last spring freeze and earliest fall freeze defines the growing season. The length of the growing season determines when plants are mature enough for harvest,  and if they have obtained the necessary sugars and proteans need by the core products that these field crops support.

An early fall freeze can be as damaging as a late spring freeze. The number of days between the last Spring freeze and the first Fall freeze constitutes the growing season. Late spring freezes and early fall freezes can shorten a regions growing season, which can limit field crop productivity.  That is why, it is important to track both spring and fall freezes.

        City                           State      Grow Season     Last Frost         First Freeze

Chicago IL 187 Apr. 20 Oct. 24
Springfield IL 182 Apr. 13 Oct. 13
Indianapolis IN 181 Apr. 17 Oct. 16
South Bend IN 175 Apr. 26 Oct. 19
Atlantic IA 148 May 2 Sept. 28
Cedar Rapids IA 163 Apr. 25 Oct. 6
Topeka KS 174 Apr. 19 Oct. 11
Lansing MI 145 May 10 Oct. 3
Marquette MI 154 May 11 Oct. 13
Duluth MN 124 May 21 Sept. 23
Willmar MN 154 Apr. 30 Oct. 1
Fort Peck MT 141 May 8 Sept. 26
Helena MT 121 May 19 Sept. 18
Blair NE 167 Apr. 25 Oct. 10
North Platte NE 137 May 9 Sept. 24
Akron OH 192 Apr. 18 Oct. 28
Cincinnati OH 192 Apr. 13 Oct. 23
Rapid City SD 140 May 9 Sept. 27
Bismarck ND 129 May 14 Sept. 21
Green Bay WI 150 May 6 Oct. 4
Janesville WI 164 Apr. 28 Oct. 10

6 thoughts on “Freezes

  1. Rhys Jaggar December 30, 2012 / 6:30 am

    One of the things which needs to be discussed in this regard is the balance between the northern extremities where growing seasons become economic and southerly extremities where cooling makes the region more suitable than before for crop growing.

    I’ve never read a single article of this nature in newspapers or blogs.

    Perhaps you or others would consider this issue, since from a global perspective, the issue is the overall global productivity, not where exactly the productivity is manifested at any particular time.

    The implications of an LIA are a migration of peoples towards lower latitudes. What is perhaps of more interest is whether climate shifts cause desert regions to become wetter, more fertile and hence provide replacement agricultural areas for those lost to cold in the north.

    • rishrac February 26, 2014 / 9:41 am

      I’ll be moving south soon. I’m the other type of environmental refuge. Who can afford $5/gal propane? I wonder if that was in the IPCC’s formula? The Russians didn’t punish people by sending them to someplace warm, they sent them to Siberia.

      • Russ Steele February 27, 2014 / 1:44 pm

        May be Dena can post the current price of Propane in Arizona.

  2. David April 3, 2013 / 3:11 am

    It does not matter what the climate is 400 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. What can be grown in the north will shift south. However what is currently grown in the south can not be grown in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Russ April 3, 2013 / 3:37 pm

      Great insight! I had not given it that much thought.

  3. J April 12, 2016 / 11:01 am

    My son gave me a book, “Man and Climate” published by the department of agriculture in 1942.

    Despite all this “global warming” I still can’t reliably put tomato plants out before memorial day in my part of Illinois. Things haven’t warmed to extend the growing season in >70 years.

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