Spring arrives March 20

This time of year, the weather often sends mixed messages. The flowers are blooming, the birds are singing – but on several nights earlier this week, nighttime temperatures dipped below freezing.

And why not? Officially, it’s still winter. But that will change at 12:15 p.m. (just past noon) on Tuesday, March 20. That’s when the vernal equinox occurs, and spring makes its 2018 debut.

An equinox means the lengths of daylight and nighttime are equal. But after the sun crosses the celestial equator on March 20, days will get longer and longer until we reach the summer solstice on Thursday, June 21.

However, just because the sun is moving to a higher angle in the sky doesn’t mean the weather can’t still turn bitterly cold.

This is a perilous time for farmers and gardeners, because it’s impossible to predict when the last freezing temperatures of the season will occur.

Bill Kinsland, White County’s official weather observer, said the average date for the final freeze is April 11, but it can vary greatly within a two-month range.

The earliest final freeze he has recorded was on March 19, 2005, and the latest was on May 14, 2008.

So if you have vulnerable plants, the best you can do is monitor the weather forecasts carefully and take heed of any freeze warnings.

Then just relax – summer will be here before you know it, and we’ll be complaining about the heat.

White County News

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