Winter may exhale its last icy gasp tonight as temperatures are expected to dip below freezing for several hours into Thursday morning.
Ironically, Lawrence's last freeze on average is April 12, said Paul Frantz, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Topeka.
Although the temperature is expected to be near 30 degrees -- not considered a "hard" freeze in gardening terms -- it may stay down for several hours, which can damage plants, he said.
"The important thing there is the length of time," Frantz said. "If it's only down there for one-half hour it's not as critical. Tonight, it would be a good night to bring things in or cover and protect them outside. It looks like it will get down below freezing and stay there for a couple of hours."
Today's overnight low was 34 degrees. Thursday is expected to be much warmer, with highs near 70.
Will tonight be the last freeze of the season?
"It just depends on the weather patterns," Frantz said. "It has been a real roller coaster ride the last week and a half here. It's supposed to warm up this week, but Tuesday and Wednesday of next week looks like we could get some cold air sucked down here again."
Highs are expected to be in the high-60s to low-70s on Friday and Saturday, with lows in the 40s.
Meanwhile, it will take anywhere from a day to 10 days to determine how much damage unseasonably cold weather did to western Kansas' wheat crop, and an expert was telling farmers on Tuesday to be patient.
``The best management approach at this point is to ride it out and see how things look before making any decisions,'' said Jim Shroyer, state agronomist with the Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service.
Temperatures lower than 24 degrees for more than an hour or two are potentially damaging to wheat, Shroyer said.
Traditionally, Kansas is the No. 1 wheat-producing state in the nation, with annual harvests of more than 400 million bushels.