Weather Blog: Last Frost/Freeze Climatology For NW Arkansas & the River Valley

Weather Blog

Almost a month into Spring and everyone wants to know, “can I plant my flowers outside yet?” That depends on the average last frost/freeze, but when is the last frost/freeze in NW Arkansas and the River Valley?

The average last light freeze in Fayetteville is typically on April 16, with the last hard freeze occurring two weeks earlier on April 2.

However, Old Man Winter likes to stick around sometimes. In 1960, the last light freeze occurred on May 12 and holds the record for the latest last freeze on record.

Fort Smith’s last freeze normally occurs at the end of May but can last until mid-April. The latest last hard freeze on record in Fort Smith occurred on April 15, 1983.

Looking Ahead

It looks like Old Man Winter is trying to make one last stand this year. Overnight lows into Monday morning (April 19), Wednesday morning (April 21), and Thursday morning (April 22) appear to be chilly.

Monday and Thursday morning temperatures will be at or just above freezing for many in NW Arkansas. Wednesday morning will be the coldest as widespread temperatures are forecasted to be in the mid-20s.

Temperatures below 28°F are considered a “killing freeze”, meaning temperatures are cold enough where annual plants and other vegetation may die.

The River Valley will escape the frost & freeze potential for Monday and Thursday mornings, but not Wednesday. Current forecasts have a morning low of 32°F in Fort Smith, AR for Wednesday, April 21.

Covering your plants at night will help hold the heat in near the ground and keep your plants from freezing.

You can use bedsheets, bath towels, plastic tarps, and blankets. Just be sure to take them off during the day once temperatures warm-up to allow your plants to enjoy the warmth of the sun.

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