Weather Whys April 9, 2015

Courtesy Texas A&M

Q:  For most of Texas, what is the average date of the last freeze each year?

A: Because Texas is so large, there is a lot of variation in the average last freeze date (LFD), says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University. “In the panhandle area, the average LFD is not until early April and it is not uncommon for Amarillo and other areas to receive snowfall as late as May,” McRoberts explains. “And in the Rio Grande Valley, it almost never freezes, so the average LFD is very early in January.  Much of Central Texas and a large part of the state has an average LFD in the middle of March. But remember, these are average dates, and a freeze can certainly happen much later in some years.”

Q: Has the average LFD date remained the same over the past century? 
A: A quick answer is that it is probably occurring earlier, McRoberts says. “It’s been proven the Earth is getting warmer over the past 100 years, so that means the average last freeze should occur earlier and it should start getting warmer sooner, say in February and March,” McRoberts adds.  “If a freeze should occur later than usual – near the end of March or early April – it can really do some serious damage to trees and plants that have already started to bud and bloom. “