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Charlottesville area faces frost-biting night

If you’re cold, they’re probably cold, too.

The National Weather Service wants farmers, gardeners and those with a special affection for their plants to bring them inside or find others ways to keep them warm or protected Tuesday evening lest their tender tendrils suffer beneath a frigid frost.

Meteorologists have issued a freeze watch for Central Virginia from late Tuesday and into Wednesday morning. They expect a replay of the cold day’s night on Wednesday into Thursday.

Temperatures are expected to drop to 32 degrees or lower both nights, although they’ve as yet issued no such watch for Wednesday night.

“Lows will range from the 20s in the mountains to the 30s across most other locations,” meteorologists said in forecast discussions on the weather service website. “Lows both nights will be in the 20s and 30s for most locations. A freeze watch is in effect for portions of northern and central Virginia where the growing season is still in effect.”

The freeze watch warns that the frost could be a killer.

“Frost and freeze conditions could kill crops, other sensitive vegetation and possibly damage unprotected outdoor plumbing,” the weather watch states. “Take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold.”

The weather service is taking the cold seriously enough to provide tips on protecting water pipes.

“To prevent freezing and possible bursting of outdoor water pipes they should be wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly,” the watch states. “Those that have in-ground sprinkler systems should drain them and cover above-ground pipes to protect them from freezing.”

The frosty forecast is part of a cold front dropping temperatures below normal for nearly two-thirds of the country, according to the weather service. Some lows could be as much as 25 degrees below the seasonal averages.

“Freeze warnings are in effect across broad portions of the Central Plains, Middle Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley, Mid-South, and Central/Southern Appalachians,” meteorologists said. “Freeze watches are in effect further south from northern portions of the Southern Plains east through the Lower Mississippi Valley and into the Piedmont.”

High temperatures are expected to reach the mid-50s for the region Tuesday and Wednesday and start creeping up into the lower 70s by Saturday.


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