Dogwood winter

Cold snap in the midst of springtime warmth.
Posted at 5:48 PM, Apr 14, 2020

We are approaching the halfway point of Meteorological Spring. So far we've enjoyed a good deal of springtime warmth. The flowers, tree, and other plants have certainly enjoyed it too. Then there was today. A shock to the system and a reminder the winter didn't end that long ago. These unseasonal cold snaps are known as "little winters."

Similar to Indian Summer, little winters are sudden cold snaps are occur just as everything is beginning to bloom. They may be called dogwood, blackberry, locus, whippoorwill, or redbud winters. The name depends on geographical location and when this rude reminder occurs. A "dogwood winter" in Kentucky can occur anytime between mid April and early May when the dogwoods are beginning to bloom. Meteorologist Tom Ackerman captured some flurries flitting around his dogwood tree earlier today.

Today's high in Lexington was only 41°. That's colder than our average low for this time of year - 45°. But it wasn't the coldest April 14th ever. On this date in 1950 the high was only 35°. Kentucky wasn't the only place where it was cold today. The midsection of the country is in the midst of post-Easter cold snap. Temperatures are 20 to 30 degrees below-normal with the coldest air sitting over the Central Plains.

We are in store for a cold night today. As skies clear, temperatures will drop below freezing and, in most cases, into the 20s. A freeze is expected with some areas experiencing a hard freeze (low colder than 28°.) A Freeze Warning will be in effect for the entire area overnight. Given the progress of delicate plants and the cold nighttime temperatures, this warning is warranted. You'll want to cover up or bring in your sensitive flowers or plants. We are nearing the time when we typically see our last freeze of the season. Lexington's latest freeze occurred on May 20, 1894. These interruptions in the gradual springtime warm up are possible even very late into the season.

Our temperatures will gradually warm up into the weekend. There will be another chance for a fairly widespread freeze Wednesday night. Highs return to the lower 60s on Friday. The pattern appears to flip with warmer than average days heading our way next week.