Frosty Forecast: The Truth Behind Minnesota’s First Fall Frost
The dates of the last freezing temperatures of the spring and the first freezing temperatures of the fall are a sure sign of the changing seasons here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. But more than that, they're also fairly important dates for home gardeners, farmers, agribusiness, and others.
These dates are sometimes referred to as the "last frost" and "first frost". And given how vast our state is-- Minnesota's area spans just under 87,000 square miles, running 406 miles from north to south and 358 miles from east to west at its widest point-- those dates can vary quite a bit.
However, according to the National Gardening Association, for *most* of us who live in Minnesota's most populated areas in the central and southern parts of the state, the average last frost date each spring usually happens the first week of May. Of course, that's only an average, and there are always strange weather events that happen every so often, like the freak May 2nd snowstorm of 2013 that dumped around 18 inches of snow on parts of Minnesota.
In the fall, though, our first flirtation with Jack Frost usually happens within the first two weeks in October-- right where we are right now. The National Gardening Association sums it up like this:
- There is a small 20% chance of seeing a first frost by September 24th
- There is a 50% chance of the first fall frost occurring by October 2nd
- There is an 80% chance of seeing the first fall frost by October 11th
Of course, the further north you go in the Gopher State, the earlier the first frost will likely occur. For instance, according to the National Weather Service, Duluth usually sees its first frost of the fall by September 30th. In International Falls, it usually happens by September 13th, and in Hibbing, they've seen frost as early as September 8th each year!
However, the first frost of the fall can also occur much later in southern parts of the state. For instance, back in the fall of 2016, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport didn't see its first frost until November 7th-- the latest date ever, KARE-11 noted.
Only True Minnesotans Know How to Pronounce These Names
Gallery Credit: Curt St. John