Freeze forecast for Coweta County as trees begin blooming

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Trees are blooming at Newnan's Greenville Street Park, signaling spring. But winter temperatures are in the forecast for the weekend.

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
sarah@newnan.com
Colder weather is on its way — but it won’t hang around for long.
A little bit of winter will come visiting Coweta this weekend.
Nighttime temperatures are forecast to be below freezing Saturday night and Sunday night, and maybe even tonight, depending on who you ask. Forecasts for the Newnan area are varied, depending on the source.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a low of 33 degrees tonight, 23 degrees Saturday night, and 28 degrees Sunday night.
The Weather Channel is predicting a low of 34 degrees tonight, 28 degrees Saturday and 32 on Sunday.
Weather Underground says it will get down to 27 tonight, 25 Saturday and 28 Sunday.
Accuweather is predicting the coldest temperatures for Newnan: 27 on Friday, 21 on Saturday, and 27 on Sunday. Accuweather is also predicting a passing afternoon shower and possible “rapid freeze-up.”

The forecasts are a bit more in synch for the daytime temperatures. Saturday will be cold and windy, with partly cloudy skies and a high from 43 to 46. According to the National Weather Service, there will be sustained winds of 5 to 15 mph, with gusts reaching 25 mph.

Sunday will be bright and warmer, with sunny skies and a high of 50 to 52.

The warming trend will continue on Monday, with mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies and a high of 58 to 61. Nighttime temperatures will be well above freezing, in the 39 to 45 degree range.

Showers may return Monday night or Tuesday.

It’s been an unseasonably warm winter, and the plants have noticed. Many trees started budding in January, and some trees are already in full bloom.

This weekend’s freeze shouldn’t cause too many problems with those trees, said Stephanie Butcher, Extension Service coordinator for Coweta.

The majority of the plants that are in bloom “can withstand a little cold weather,” she said. “The trouble really comes later on, in the end of March, the first part of April,” she said.

“Some areas might get colder than others, so people might see a little bit of freeze damage on the tops of leaves,” she said. But “I really don’t think we’re going to see a lot of damage to plants yet.”

The biggest potential problem with plants this winter isn’t the cold. It’s the lack of it. That can be problematic for those who typically spray herbicides on their Bermuda grass lawns in the winter.

“Last winter, it didn’t get cold enough” for the warm season grasses, such as Bermuda and Zoysia, to go completely dormant, Butcher said. “They looked dormant, but they were still green down at the base,” she said. “Especially in areas that stayed warmer, like right around driveways or sidewalks.”

Some people will spray glyphosate (Roundup) on dormant Bermuda to kill weeds in the winter. That’s safe when the grass is completely dormant. But if it’s not, it can kill the grass as well as the weeds.

The Extension office did see “some problems associated with damage to the Bermuda by using that product” last year, she said.



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