A cold front that barged into Douglas County on Tuesday night has brought with it a slight chance for frost tonight in the outlying areas of the county.
Craig Clark, weather observer at Kansas University, said the forecast calls for a low temperature of 35 degrees tonight. But he said the temperature in the county's hills and valleys may get "just cold enough right off the ground" to result in a light frost.
"It's not a serious freeze, because the mean temperature is not going to get cold enough in most areas," Clark said. "There aren't any frost advisories or warnings out."
Should the temperature fall to 35 overnight, it would set a record. The current low temperature for this date is 38 degrees, set in 1901, and Thursday's record low is 40, established in 1938.
The earliest autumn freeze in Lawrence occurred on Sept. 27, 1942, when the temperature was 31 degrees. The freezing point on the Fahrenheit scale is 32 degrees.
THE AVERAGE date for frost in the county is Oct. 24. The first frost last year occurred on the evening of Oct. 9.
Dennis Bejot, director of the Douglas County Extension Service, said people should bring their potted plants indoors tonight and cover their flowers outside. Any garden vegetables ready for harvesting should be picked, he said, especially tender plants such as tomatoes and peppers. Bejot said garden plants also can be covered for added protection.
"It's not going to take an awful lot because the soil is warm," he said. "If you just throw a blanket or sheet over your flowers or things you want to save, there's enough warmth under there unless it get's awfully cold that nothing's going to happen."
The covering should not be removed in the morning until the frost has melted off and the air temperature becomes warmer.
ALSO, PEOPLE with outdoor pets should keep them inside tonight to protect them against the cold.
The cold front also dumped 0.65 inches of rain on Lawrence overnight as its calling card. Clinton Lake reported the same amount, and Walter Schwarz, weather observer in Worden, in south-central Douglas County, recorded 0.36 inches of rain.
On Saturday, Lawrence received 1.11 inches of rain, its first inch-plus rainfall in three months. Schwarz reported 1.46 inches of rain on Saturday. Lawrence has recorded 2.51 inches of rain for the month to help break a three-month drought.
Bejot said that the rain would benefit recently planted wheat, alfalfa, brome and seeded lawns.