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With winter coming, what is the difference between a frost and a freeze?

Winter is quickly approaching, and cold temperatures can cause a frost or freeze warning, but what do those terms mean?

difference between a frost warning and a freeze warning

A frost or a freeze can impact plants, so the terms are often used in regards to vegetation.

Both a frost and a freeze are bad for growing plants, but they don’t mean the same thing.

The difference between a frost and freeze, and a warning or watch

According to My Twin Tiers, a frost forms when a temperature drops below 36 degrees Fahrenheit. The National Weather Service shares that it is more likely to happen in rural areas.

A frost will be more widespread once the temperature drops below 32 degrees. Below 32, however, can cause a freeze as well.

The National Weather Service will issue frost and freeze advisories, watches, or warnings, depending on the situation.


Frost advisory, freeze watch, and freeze warning

A frost advisory will be issued if the lowest temperature is forecasted to be between 33 and 36 degrees.

These happen usually when it’s calm and clear outside, and they’re issued during the growing season.

A freeze watch will be issued when there are expected to be widespread freezing temperatures between the next 24 and 36 hours.

A freeze warning is issued when the temperatures are expected very soon.

If you have outside plants when these are issued, this isn’t good for them.

A frost is described as plants being exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees, and while it may only last for a short time, it can really damage your plants.

When your plant’s internal temperature reaches 32 degrees, it will freeze then warm again during the day. This causes the cells to break down and causes brown and black spots in the plant.


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