When's the First Frost for Fall?

August 30, 2011; 7:09 AM ET
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With hurricane season in full swing and summer coming to a close, we take a look ahead to the first frost of fall.

The annual first frost varies greatly by region. Some areas in higher elevations have already seen frost this summer. Higher points in Colorado get very little relief from the snow and frost almost any time of the year.

"It's not just the highest points of the higher elevations," said Expert Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek. "The frost shows up in the lower points of the mountains like in the gullies or ravines where the cold air sinks."

In many parts of the Northeast, the first frost generally occurs in October, though higher elevations can see frost much earlier.

"Up in pockets of Vermont, New Hampshire and the Adirondacks, the frost will usually start in the beginning of September," added Dombek. "The second half could see frost near the Bradford, Pa., and Jamestown, N.Y., areas away from Lake Erie.

Dombek goes on to explain that Lake Erie's warmer temperature pushes the fall frost farther back for surrounding areas.

"Lake Erie has very warm water, so it takes a long time to cool," said Dombek. "Sometimes in Erie, Pa., Buffalo, N.Y., or Rochester, N.Y., the first frost may not be until November, though the temperatures generally take longer to warm up in the spring causing a longer frost season."

The Old Farmer's Almanac has a comprehensive list of first and last frost dates for several areas in the United States.


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