(KXAN) — Our first freeze of the season marks the end of our growing season.
When this first freeze is in the forecast, our local National Weather Service office will issue a Freeze Warning. This occurred back in mid-December for us in central Texas. Meteorologist Sean Kelly spoke with Warning Coordination Meteorologist Paul Yura for the National Weather Service in New Braunfels, Texas about this freeze.
“This is not a big agricultural area that has freeze-sensitive type of plants,” Paul says.
For this reason, “we typically give everyone a heads up the first freeze of the winter. And then we do not issue Freeze Warnings every time it drops below 32 degrees. That would be a lot in a typical winter.”
So, as we deal with additional freezing cold temperatures this winter, our local National Weather Service will not issue any additional freezing cold alerts.
This is nothing new. Out of the 13 national weather service offices in the state of Texas, only two issue a freeze alert for each and every single freeze that occurs over the course of a season. That’s for areas in the Valley down through the Coastal Bend. This is an area that has more sensitive crops. They need to be alerted each time so they can take action.
“Deep South Texas and the Corpus Christi area where it does not really freeze that often, they will typically issue freeze warnings for every individual freeze event during an entire winter season,” Paul says. “You head down in the Valley, the big issue is the citrus down there, with all the citrus trees they have to go out and start picking fruit; if there’s going to be a significant freeze they got to go out and start picking stuff.”
There are a few rare exceptions to this rule, where our local National Weather Service does indeed issue more than one freeze alert in a season even for us here in central Texas. We went through it last year with our historic storm.
“If there is a significantly massive cold outbreak, much like what we experienced last winter, something when we are talking days below freezing, where we are talking about massive impacts to water pipes, peoples homes, [then we issue alerts],” Paul says.
The warning then helps prepare people for something that is out of the norm.
Another case is if our area experiences a late-season freeze.
“Another situation would be if we had an extended warm period, maybe already into the springtime, people have already planted their gardens and then all of a sudden a very late season freeze, so we would maybe issue a freeze warning then,” Paul says.