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Spring Frost

The beginning of May brought unseasonably warm temperatures to the Northeast, almost making the cold and snowy weather seem like a distant memory. Between May 2 and May 4, record warm temperatures were set at 28 climate sites around the region. The highest temperatures amongst the 35 major climate sites in the Northeast were recorded in Hartford, CT and Newark, NJ, both of which hit a high of 94˚F on May 3. Many other areas recorded temperatures above 90˚F for multiple days in a row.

May temp map

The entire Northeast experienced temperatures that ranged from near normal to more than 8°F above normal during start of May.

The average date of the last spring frost for locations throughout the Northeast typically occurs in April, according to climate data from 1981-2010. Washington, DC historically has the earliest last frost in the Northeast. So far this is in line with data from this year, as Washington has not seen below-freezing temperatures since late March. Caribou, ME typically experiences the latest spring frost in the region, but this year, Elkins, WV and Syracuse, NY both recorded frosts on May 1, while temperatures have remained above freezing at Caribou since April 24. If Caribou does not report another below-freezing temperature this spring, they will have tied their record for the earliest last frost. The other major climate sites have experienced their most recent frost in 2018 during March or April.

Spring frost data

The earliest and latest spring frosts at each of the major climate sites in the Northeast, as well as the date that the most recent frost has occurred so far in spring 2018.

Although many areas in the region have not seen below-freezing temperaures for several weeks, some places will still experience low temperatures at night, which could be harmful to some plants. In 1988, much to the dismay of local farmers and gardeners, Elkins, WV had a low temperature of 32˚F on July 1! To keep updated about any frost/freeze advisories, check out the website of your local National Weather Service office.