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Why the wind may keep your plants safe from frost Wednesday morning

The wind could turn from a nuisance Tuesday afternoon to an ally Tuesday night.

Frost in Wythe County Sunday morning (Bertha Shelton)
Frost in Wythe County Sunday morning (Bertha Shelton) (WSLS)

ROANOKE, Va. – Southwest Virginia gardeners have likely been pretty annoyed so far this April as there have been a few late-season bouts with frosts and freezes, keeping spring plants out of the ground.

When Your Local Weather Authority forecasts the possibility of frost, we are looking for three specific conditions for the early mornings in our region: cold temperatures, clear skies and light winds.

Ideal Frost Conditions (4/21/2020)
Ideal Frost Conditions (4/21/2020) (WSLS)

We have been keeping an eye on Wednesday morning for the possibility of frost. It appears two of the requirements for a frost or freeze will be fulfilled as many of us will drop into the 30s under clear skies.

What may keep the frost from happening is the wind. A cold front will pass through the area Tuesday, driving an increase in the westerly winds. At one time, models were advertising a weakening of the winds by the overnight hours, but that appears to be unlikely now.

Look for the wind to shift to the northwest tonight, staying sustained at 10 to 20 miles per hour with gusts up to 25 to 35 miles per hour.

Tonight's forecast wind speed (4/21/2020)
Tonight's forecast wind speed (4/21/2020) (WSLS)

Even a slight breeze overnight can displace the coldest air from settling at the ground and causing the ice crystals to develop on grass and other plants.

Our local National Weather Service in Blacksburg has issued freeze warnings for the northern and western fringes of our viewing area, but Roanoke and areas south and west do not have frost or freeze headlines. Stay tuned to 10 News on-air and online for the latest on the chances for frost when you wake up Wednesday morning.

Frost vs. No Frost (4/21/2020)
Frost vs. No Frost (4/21/2020) (WSLS)

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