Monday May 13, 2013 | 09:20 AM
Posted by David Epstein

It's going to be a chilly day across the state and an even colder night ahead.  While there are frost warnings up for parts of southern New England, there are none for Maine.   The reason isn't that there won't be a frost the next two mornings, rather it's that the "official" growing season hasn't started yet for most areas, so there isn't the need for the warning. However, I am giving you an unofficial warning that there is going to be a frost both Tuesday and Wednesday inland away from the shore.

I'll be updating the forecast throughout the week on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

Our current cold outbreak of air has originated in Canada where it is still quite chilly.  You wonder; how cold it can be up there this time of the year?  After all many areas in northern sections of that country are enjoying over 18 hours of daylight.  In Iqalit, which is up near the Arctic Circle the sun rose this morning at about 3:30 AM and won’t set until after 9:30 this evening!  One of the things on my bucket list of life is to spend some time in the far northern reaches of the planet during those long days.

The temperature in Iqalit, when I checked around 8 AM, was only 10F and it was snowing. The map above shows other temperature readings in the area. Further north and east there are several spots below zero this morning in spite of the huge amounts of daylight.  That cold air is not coming south, but a piece of it will be here the next two days.  The air is also very dry which allows for wide fluctuations between the early morning and late afternoon.   After the sun sets this evening the temperature can fall as much as 10 degrees in a few hours.
Tomorrow and Wednesday mornings are going to be cold.  Many of us will see our thermometers back in the 30s.  Those of you that live in a city, by the water, or higher on a hill won’t be as cold as if you live in a valley, inland or a very rural area.  This time of year, when we get late frosts, who sees the grass white or wet in the morning can vary dramatically in a very short distance. 
On my morning walk this morning there was a frost in the center of the field I walk through, but nowhere else in the area.  I expect tomorrow to be about 5 degrees colder and the extent of frost to be greater. 
Now, if you don’t have any plants outside this whole discussion of a few degrees in temperature is meaningless to you.  For you, grab a heavier sweater or jacket the next couple of mornings and get excited about the milder air for the second part of the week.
If you have any warm weather plants outside AND you live in an area prone to frost protect them or bring them inside for a couple of nights.  There are certain covers that work better than others.  If your plants are small, inverting a large Styrofoam cooler over them would be perfect.  If you have a larger area, use an old sheet.  Burlap, row cover, fleece blankets, and even the grill cover will work.  I don’t like plastic tarps as they can trap moisture, but in a pinch they are fine.
Beyond the cold starts to the day we have some very nice weather this week.  While there will be the opportunity for a couple of showers later this week, much of the next 10 days looks dry and mild.   While high temperatures this afternoon will stay under the 60F mark, by tomorrow we will add 5 degrees and then another 5 for Wednesday.  By the time we hit the end of the week 75F is not out of the question. 
The weekend is looking warm with some sunshine.  Whether or not we see any shower activity is still a bit of question, but I’ll be answering that this week.

Gardening this week Japanese maple trees are one of the best ornamental trees you can put in your yard. I have a total of about a dozen scattered everywhere from the front of the house to the back. Check out some of the best varieties in this week's video.

I'll be updating the forecast throughout the week on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

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About the Author

David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.

In 2006, David founded, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.

David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.

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