|THE FIRST AND LAST COLD FRONTS|
ARE THE WORST
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
WEATHER FOLKLORE: "The first and last cold fronts are the worst"
APPLICABILITY: Statement is most applicable to mid-latitude locations in agricultural areas. It is also
applicable to people in areas that experience strong cold fronts in the cool half of the year.
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION: Statement refers to the first strong fall cold front and last strong spring cold front.
Freezing temperatures are often critical for agriculture to avoid. The first
freeze of the year and the last freeze of the year often occur after a strong cold frontal passage. Once the cold
air settles in, a clear night with light wind will allow the temperature to cool off significantly. An unexpected
early or late strong cold front that brings freezing temperatures can result in agricultural damage. If crops are
not harvested in time an early freeze can kill them. If crops are planted too early, a late freeze can kill them.
Thus, the "worst" in the lore can be closely associated with economic damage.
People become accustomed to warm temperatures for several months. That first strong fall cold front is more difficult
to bear since it takes time to adapt to new weather conditions. The last strong spring cold front can be difficult
to bear since people are looking forward to warmer weather and warmer weather has probably been influencing the
area for several days before the cold frontal passage.