Texas

Why we probably haven’t done away with frost this winter

AUSTIN (KXAN) — We are now halfway through the meteorological winter that began on December 1st and continues through the end of February.

It doesn’t have to be winter in Austin to be cold. The earliest date of the colder months when the temperature ever dropped to 32º or below was October 26, 1924. Frosts can also occur in the spring months. The last frost in Austin at Camp Mabry was on April 9, 1914.

The average cold season in Austin – Camp Mabry – 12 frosts with temperatures of 32º and below. When I say “cold season” I mean October-April – the period of time when you can see freezing temperatures in Central Texas.

Most of our freezing temperatures occur during the meteorological winter, and the month with the most frost is, on average, January with five frosts.

*NOTE. Due to rounding by month, the chart below adds up to 13, but the average annual frost is 12.

How do we manage this cold season?

Since October 2022, we have recorded seven frosts in Austin, all of which occurred in December.

Until we hit the Austin freeze mark at Camp Mabry in 2023.

Since records began in 1897, Camp Mabry has been frost-free for only six January. The last time this happened was in January 2020.

Previous years (October-April)

  • 2021-2022: 17 freezes: 6 in January, 10 in February and 1 in March.
  • 2020-2021: 16 frosts: 2 in December, 4 in January and 10 in February (severe winter storm)
  • 2019-2020: 6 hangs: 3 in November, 1 in December, 2 in February
  • 2018-2019: 10 freezes: 2 in November, 1 in December, 3 in January, 1 in February, 3 in March

Our average last frost in Austin is Feb. 25, giving plenty of time for new frosts before warmer spring temperatures kick in.

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