How Much Yard Work is Left?
This is a question that cannot be answered fully for every single household in the Tennessee Valley, but it is one that comes up fairly often in conversation: how many more times will I have to cut the grass?
Having grown up in Cullman County, I can remember years when we had to cut the grass all the way into early December, and there were other years when the mowing was finished before Halloween! (Anyone remember the year we had snow flurries on Halloween in the mid-90s?)
The bottom line is that while I can give you an estimate, it may vary by as much as a few weeks over a few miles. Our diverse terrain, proximity to larger bodies of water that tend to keep the nearby air warmer (I’m looking at you Guntersville), and even the type of vegetation in and around your yard will influence the final grass-cutting of the season.
The going longer-range forecast is still for the weather to be cooler and drier than normal for the next few weeks. Even bermuda grass won’t grow very quickly in this kind of pattern! The problem is, it is still growing enough for those of us who like to keep the lawn looking sharp.
While it looks cool, it isn’t going to be “cold” enough for a good enough frost to end the growing season in the short-term. The cold front coming this weekend will only serve to drop temperatures into the 60s for highs and upper 30s for lows in most areas. That being said, there is a small chance (about 5%) that it could get to 35º or below in Huntsville by Monday morning:
There is a slightly better chance of that happening (about 15%) around Gadsden and Fort Payne on Monday morning; those two cities along with Russellville, Valley Head, and Winchester, Tennessee seem to always get the frost first since it’s usually colder there on nights like those in the forecast:
The best chance of frost will be over much of Tennessee; in fact, the National Weather Service in Nashville issued this special weather statement earlier today for the following counties: Stewart, Montgomery, Robertson, Sumner, Macon, Clay, Pickett, Benton, Humphreys, Houston, Dickson, Cheatham, Davidson, Wilson, Trousdale, Smith, Jackson, Putnam, Overton, Fentress, Perry, Hickman, Lewis, Williamson, Maury, Marshall, Rutherford, Cannon, DeKalb, White, Cumberland, Beford, Coffee, Warren, Grundy, Van Buren, Wayne, Lawrence and Giles.
…FROST EXPECTED EARLY MONDAY MORNING…
AFTER HIGH TEMPERATURES ON FRIDAY IN THE UPPER 70S AND LOWER
80S…A STRONG COLD FRONT WILL PUSH THROUGH THE REGION LATE FRIDAY
NIGHT…BRINGING WITH IT A ROUND OF RAIN SHOWERS AND COOLER
TEMPERATURES. A REINFORCING UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCE WILL BRING
ANOTHER ROUND OF RAIN SHOWERS SATURDAY NIGHT INTO SUNDAY…ALONG
WITH EVEN COOLER TEMPERATURES. HIGHS SATURDAY SHOULD ONLY TOP OUT
IN THE LOWER 60S…WITH LOCATIONS STRUGGLING TO REACH 60 DEGREES
BEHIND THE COLD FRONT AND UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCE…CANADIAN HIGH
PRESSURE WILL SETTLE INTO THE OHIO AND TENNESSEE VALLEYS SUNDAY
NIGHT. THUS…CLEAR SKIES AND CALMING WINDS WILL ALLOW
TEMPERATURES TO DROP INTO THE MIDDLE TO UPPER 30S SUNDAY NIGHT
INTO MONDAY MORNING…ALLOWING FOR AREAS OF FROST TO FORM.
CONTINUED CHILLY TEMPERATURES BUT SLIGHTLY WARMER OVERNIGHT LOWS
ARE EXPECTED TUESDAY MORNING. PERSONS WITH AGRICULTURAL INTERESTS
SHOULD CONTINUE TO MONITOR THIS POTENTIAL FROST.
Without a “killing” frost over the next few days, odds are, you’ll still have to cut the grass at least 2 more times in most of North Alabama and at least once more in Southern Tennessee before the grass goes dormant for the cold season.
Here’s a map of the average date of the first frost in North Alabama:
Based on climatology, we would not expect a significant frost until the last week of October or first week of November around here. Sometimes it’s early, and sometimes it’s late. The current weather pattern makes me believe we will be pretty close to the “average” for first frosts all over the Tennessee Valley.