Elwell: Thinking about planting? Better wait for Mother’s Day

It seems to be the winter that just doesn’t want to give up.

Many in the Miami Valley are seeing yet another round of snow showers and cold air after being teased with spring late last week. In fact, temperatures have plunged more than 40 degrees since Friday.

As of the weekend, the average temperature for April so far was running 5 degrees below normal, and that is despite the significant but brief warm-up last week.

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On top of that, depending on the final totals for this week, the Miami Valley is threatening to make it into the top 5 for snowiest Aprils on record. It is a statistic that many I’ve heard from preferred we’d stay away from.

Indeed, many have been asking me, “When is it going to finally warm up and STAY warm?”

Well, it appears we are about to turn the corner, albeit slowly, this week.

Even though we are off to another cold start, the stronger sun angle this time of year will eventually win out, and the warmth of spring will return. But don’t look for as fast as a warm-up as we saw last week.

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The long-range outlook released from the Climate Prediction Center suggests that, while temperatures will stay below normal the rest of the month, the pattern will ease.

There will still be quite a bit of fluctuations over the next week to 10 days, going back and forth from the 50s to near 70 degrees. However, the threat for any additional snowfall appears to be dwindling the rest of the month.

It is important to note though that we have had snow in May before, so we can never rule that out. However, it is appearing unlikely that will happen.

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It also appears the storm track over the coming 1 to 2 weeks may shift north and south of the Ohio Valley, allowing for a slightly calmer, drier weather pattern. This would be welcome news to local farmers and landscapers hoping to begin working outdoors and cleaning up from the winter.

But I would hold off on any significant planting other than cold season vegetables right now. While the average last freeze date in Dayton is April 19, we’ve been known to see temperatures dip below 32 degrees as late as May 3.

And the way this year has gone, it wouldn’t surprise me if we break another record.

We always tell people to wait until Mother’s Day weekend to do any planting. This year, that falls on May 13th. If I were you, I’d wait it out - or prepare to protect your plants.

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