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Fall Colors and our First Frost

by Matt Chambers

KMOV.com

Posted on September 30, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 3:29 PM

Fall officially began more than a week ago, but for the first time this this season, we're actually starting to feel that transition out of summer and into Autumn!

Matt here in the 4Warn Storm Center, and I am ecstatic to finally see a more typical Fall weather pattern setting up, at least for a few days, across much of the Midwest. After 13 straight days of high temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and only two days so far this month with highs in the 60s, I say bring on those crisp October afternoons.

The shorter days of late September and October tend to bring out the best in local foliage, culminating in spectacular color displays. Trying to determine when and where that color will reach its peak is difficult for the experts, but it doesn't have to be a challenge for you. Just check these websites...

Missouri Department of Conservation Fall Colors
Illinois Fall Color Page

As you might imagine, we receive a lot of phone calls and e-mails this time of year asking about Fall color. Perhaps our second most common request as we head into Fall is for the projected date of our "first frost". People want to know when they need to start protecting their tender plants and flowers, and farmers want to know when the growing season will come to an end. As of today (September 30, 2008), there is no sign of near-freezing temperatures on our current 7-day forecast, but we've done some research to find out when we typically experience our first frost in this area...

St. Louis, MO:
Average first frost - October 31
Earliest first frost - September 28 (1942)
Latest first frost - November 25 (1958)

Coumbia, MO:
Average first frost - October 21
Earliest first frost - September 18 (1901)
Latest first frost - November 12 (1965 & 1975)

The terrain of the eastern Ozarks tends to bring frost earlier to the southwest part of the News4 viewing area. Steelville, MO, for example, has an average first frost date of September 29!

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