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Cold weather could stick around

April 05, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

HAGERSTOWN

Area residents can expect to deal with colder than average temperatures, maybe for as long as the next two weeks, an AccuWeather meteorologist said Thursday.

Temperatures will be the coldest through Monday and could prove problematic for area gardeners.

"Any flower that's fully open will be damaged by the cold they are calling for," said Jon Snavely, owner of Snavely's Garden Corner in Hagerstown, referring to temperatures predicted to be below freezing for the next several nights. "When flowers are fully open or even partly open, they are at risk to freezing temperatures."

The temperatures might come close to record lows for this time of year, meteorologist Jon Gresiak said.

The record low for April 5 in Hagerstown is 21 degrees, set in 1918, according to i4weather.net, a Web site operated by Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer. The low Thursday was 31 degrees at 9 a.m., according to the Web site.

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The record low for April 6 is 22 degrees, set in 1914, according to the Web site. Accuweather predicts the low today will be 24 degrees.

The record low for April 7 was 18 degrees, set in 1943. Accuweather predicts the low Saturday will be 23 degrees.

The lowest record temperature for April i 9 degrees, set April 1, 1923, according to Keefer's Web site.

"It looks like we're going to be locked in a cold pattern for a while, the worst of the cold coming through the next few days," Gresiak said. "Even as we go through next week, temperatures will still be colder than normal."

Snavely offers advice to the home gardener on protecting plants from freezing temperatures.

"Anything that's portable ... anything in a container or hanging basket, I'd say it would be a good idea to move it (inside the home) to avoid freezing temperatures," he said. "Trees, shrubs ... there's not that much that you can do ... they'll drop those leaves if they are severely damaged and they'll produce new ones."

Snavely advises gardeners to cover plants if at all possible, although this is usually more effective when protecting against frost damage and not against a full freeze.

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