The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 24, 2013

Frost in the forecast for Friday

By Budd McLaughlin
bud@athensnews-courier.com

— For the next couple of mornings, you need to make sure you have your gloves.

And a jacket, too.

That’s the advice of meteorologist Jennifer Schuller with the National Weather Service’s Huntsville office.

And, if you’re planning to go to any high school football games Friday, Schuller has a tip on what to wear because a cold front is bringing the coolest weather of the fall season so far.

“It won’t be just a sweater,” she said Wednesday. “This will be our first real feeling of cold.”

Today’s high should be in the low 60s but tonight’s overnight temperatures will likely be in the mid-30s, Schuller said. Friday’s weather will be about like it was Wednesday.

“We’re keeping our eyes open for frost,” she said.

Well, the frost is coming. In fact, widespread frost and freeze conditions are in the forecast for the weekend as overnight lows reach the upper 20s to upper 30s.

“We haven’t had widespread frost yet this season,” Schuller said. “But it’s likely Friday morning and we could see a freeze Saturday morning.

“Vegetation might take a hit.”

Protect plants

This is the time of year when plants are threatened by the frost and hard freezes. The potted plants should be brought indoors or into a garage for protection.

While some plant owners use plastic to cover plants, fabric covers such as cotton bedsheets or burlap are seen as a better way to protect the plants. The covering allows moisture to escape while still keeping the freezing air from contacting the moisture. Plastic keeps the moisture inside, trapping it on the leaves and buds.

Protect pipes

This is a good time to remember to protect pipes inside and outside the home to prevent the problem of frozen — and burst — pipes. The Red Cross offers several tips to prevent this home disaster at www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-thawing-frozen-pipes.

Among the tips are:

• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.

• When the weather is very cold outside let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.

• Remove, drain and store hoses used outdoors.

Winter safety kit

Schuller, a Chicago native, recommends winter safety kits for the cars.

“Always have a winter safety kit — jumper cables, blankets, kitty litter, flashlight, road flares,” she said. “You may not need it this weekend but it will be there if you do have a road emergency.”