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Freeze warning for southern Wisconsin; growing season over

October 12, 2018

A freeze warning issued for southern Wisconsin late Thursday night effectively ends the growing season, and is just the beginning of a long stretch of below normal temperatures.

The National Weather Service issued the freeze warning because overnight lows are expected to drop to the 29-32 degree range. The warning is in effect from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday.

“Any cold-sensitive plants will be damaged or killed if precautions are not taken,” the warning said. “These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.”

A cold front that came through Wednesday dropped temperatures all through the night. The 7 a.m. reading in Madison on Thursday of 38 was 30 degrees colder than temperatures Wednesday morning.

Strong winds accompanied the cold front and could gust up to 35 mph on Thursday, with the high only reaching 46.

The winds forced the shutdown of the Merrimac Ferry on Thursday, so drivers will have to use alternate routes instead of the ferry connecting Highway 113 between Merrimac and Okee on Lake Wisconsin.

Friday should be colder than Thursday with a high of 43, said 27 Storm Track meteorologist Branden Borremans.

Widespread frost is expected Friday night with the low dropping to 31.

The weekend should be chilly but with some sun, highs reaching 51 on Saturday and 46 on Sunday. There’s a slight chance for rain Saturday night into Sunday morning.

More frost could develop Sunday night with the low dropping to 31, then it won’t get much warmer on Monday with a high of 43.

Frost is in the forecast once again Monday night, with the high reaching 50 on Tuesday.

A slight warm up could take place Wednesday with a high of 55, then we could see milder temperatures next Thursday with a high of 65.

Wednesday’s high of 72 was 11 degrees above normal and 12 degrees below the record high of 84 for Oct. 10, set in 1938.

The low of 47 was 7 degrees above normal and 30 degrees above the record low of 17 for the date, set in 1964.

Almost an inch (0.94) of rain fell at the airport, bringing the October rainfall total up to 4.77 inches, 3.99 inches above normal.

The record rainfall on Oct. 10 was 1.75 inches in 1954.

For the meteorological fall of September through November, Madison has received 10.23 inches of rain, 6.32 inches above normal.

Since Jan. 1, Madison has received 46.26 inches of precipitation (rain and melted snow), 17.53 inches above normal.

On Oct. 10, 1990, Madison had the first significant snow of October, when 3.0 inches fell.

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