Frost on the pumpkins in the forecast for Kent County

DOVER — It might be time to pull the flannel pajamas from the bottom of the drawer, make sure the furnace is working and throw a sheet over vegetables and  flowers still blooming.

And if you haven’t brought in your favorite potted plant, it’s time to do so.

The National Weather Service warns frost and freezing temperatures are likely to occur across Kent County and Delmarva Sunday night into Monday.  Coastal areas may catch a break and stay above 32 degrees.

The first half of October averaged within a degree of normal, according to the weather service, but that has changed with the arrival this weekend of an eastward-moving cold front from the Plains. With a high only in the low 50s on Monday, the start of the work week will be about 10 degrees below normal.

While Sunday is expected to be partly sunny, the high temperature will hover in the low 50s. Northwest winds will be breezy at 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. Forecasters are not ruling out rain, but the chance is slight at only 20 percent.

Sunday night will start out cloudy before clearing with areas of frost after midnight; lows will be in the lower 30s.
The chill will continue Monday with frost possible in the morning. Highs are forecast to be in the lower 50s and Monday night’s lows in the upper 30s.

The expected frost Sunday night is not abnormally earlier than usual; the weather service lists the median date for first frost in Dover as Nov. 3. The range is Oct. 14 through Nov. 16, according to www.climate-charts.com.

According to the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension’s website, pumpkins and winter squash likely will have leaf and vine kill with a light frost. The fruits should be OK, though. Sweet potatoes must be dug quickly after a frost kills vines and will suffer root damage if soil temperature drops below 40 degrees.

As for beans, the extension office says snap beans and lima beans will have leaf damage but can be harvested after a light frost.

Plants can be protected from a light freeze by covering them with a sheet or a blanket, according to www.gardeningknowhow.com. The website advises to never cover with just plastic; cloth should be between the plant and plastic. The cover should be removed in the morning to prevent condensation from forming.

Midweek should see more normal temperatures, with Tuesday in the upper 60s and Wednesday in the low 70s.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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