NC Cooperative Extension Resources

Average First Fall Frost Dates for Selected North Carolina Locations

Frost forms on solid objects when the water vapor in the atmosphere changes from its vapor phase to small ice crystals. Frost is not frozen dew. If you see frost than you know that the temperature of the object it is on reached 32°F or lower. However, the air temperature, measured at five feet above ground in the vicinity of this object, is likely several degrees higher. Conversely, not every air temperature recorded at or below 32°F means frost formed on solid objects in the area. In spite of this, the average date of the last spring air temperature of 32°F has traditionally been called the last frost date. The dates presented in this leaflet are the average date of the last recorded air temperature at 32°F or lower for the period 1951 - 1980. The standard deviation is an important statistic to consider along with the average date. The standard deviation tells the amount of dispersion around the average. The average date minus one standard deviation gives the date before which there is only a 16% chance of frost. A frost will occur before this date about twice in every 10 year period. For example, in Albemarle a frost will occur before October 13 (the average date of Ocotber 25 minus one standard deviation of 12 days) about twice in every 10 year period. The average date minus two standard deviations gives the date before which there is only a 2% chance of frost. A frost will occur before this date about twice in every 100 year period. For example, in Albemarle a frost will occur before October 1 (the average date of October 25 minus two standard deviations of 12 days) about twice in every 100 year period.

For information on how to protect plants from frost and freeze damage see HIL-705, Frost/Freeze Protection for Horticultural Crops, and consult the references listed below.

Below the first fall frost data are listed by Station Name (Table 1) and by County (Table 2).

There are several published references for North Carolina climate data. These references are available from the North Carolina State University Department of Communication Services, Publications, Box 7603, Raleigh, NC 27695-7603; (919) 515-2861.

  • Weather and Climate in North Carolina AG-375 ($2.50)
  • Probabilities of Dry Periods in North Carolina AG-411 ($2.00)
  • Risk of Frost and Freeze Damage for North Carolina Fruit Crops AG-403 (free)
  • Low-Temperature Probability Data for North Carolina AG-403S ($3.00)
  • Growing Degree Days in North Carolina AG-236 ($3.00)

Table 1. Average first fall frost date for North Carolina by station (1951-1980)

Table 1. Average first fall frost date and its standard deviation for selected North Carolina locations listed by station name. Data are for the period 1951 - 1980.
County Station Name Average Date Standard Deviation (days)
Alamance Burlington November 1 11
Anson Wadesboro November 4 12
Ashe Transou October 1 10
Avery Banner Elk October 2 11
Brunswick Southport 5 N November 12 14
Buncombe Asheville October 23 11
Black Mountain October 17 10
Bent Creek October 9 11
Enka October 20 10
Burke Morganton October 18 9
Hickory October 30 11
Cabarrus Concord November 2 12
Caldwell Lenoir October 21 11
Carteret Morehead City 2 WNW November 19 13
Chatham Siler City 2 NW October 15 10
Cherokee Andrews 2 E October 10 10
Chowan Edenton November 11 12
Cleveland Shelby 2 NNE October 25 9
Columbus Whiteville 7 NW October 31 11
Craven New Bern FAA AP November 9 13
Cumberland Fayetteville October 31 9
Dare Hatteras December 11 15
Davidson Lexington October 31 12
Durham Durham October 24 10
Edgecombe Rocky Mount 8 ESE October 25 10
Tarboro 1 S October 28 11
Gaston Gastonia November 1 14
Granville Oxford 2 SW October 28 12
Guilford High Point October 30 12
Greensboro Pump Station October 28 10
Greensboro WSO AP October 27 10
Haywood Canton 1 SW October 10 9
Waynesville 1 E October 8 10
Waterville 2 October 26 12
Henderson Hendersonville 1 NE October 12 9
Hyde New Holland November 11 11
Iredell Statesville 2 NNE October 19 12
Jackson Cullowhee October 11 9
Johnston Smithfield October 25 10
Jones Maysville 6 W October 24 13
Lee Sanford 8 NE October 22 10
Lenoir Kinston 5 E October 29 13
Macon Coweeta Exp Station October 7 8
Highlands 2 S October 22 12
Franklin 1 SSW October 12 8
Madison Marshall October 15 10
Hot Springs 2 October 21 10
Martin Williamston 1 ENE November 3 12
McDowell Marion October 31 13
Mecklenburg Charlotte WSO AP November 5 13
Nash Nashville October 30 11
New Hanover Wilmington WSO AP November 14 13
Wilmington 7 N November 3 12
Northampton Jackson October 26 8
Orange Chapel Hill 2 W October 23 10
Pasquotank Elizabeth City FAA AP November 7 12
Pender Willard 4 SW November 1 12
Pitt Greenville October 30 10
Polk Tryon October 29 11
Randolph Asheboro 2 W October 31 12
Richmond Hamlet October 24 8
Robeson Lumberton 6 NW October 28 12
Rockingham Reidsville 2 NW October 27 11
Rowan Salisbury October 26 10
Rowan Research Station October 20 8
Sampson Clinton October 29 11
Scotland Laurinburg November 1 11
Stanly Albemarle 4 N October 25 12
Surry Mount Airy October 15 9
Transvylvania Pisgah Forest 1 N October 10 7
Brevard October 8 9
Union Monroe 4 SE October 25 10
Vance Henderson 2 NNW October 23 9
Wake Raleigh NCSU Noember 5 13
Raleigh 4 SW November 1 14
Raleigh-Durham WSO AP October 27 9
Washington Plymouth 5 E October 25 11
Watauga Blowing Rock October 11 9
Wayne Goldsboro 1 SSW October 30 9
Wilson Wilson 3 SW October 29 10
Yancey Celo 2 S September 27 18

Table 2. Average first fall frost date for North Carolina by county (1951-1980)

Table 2. Average first fall frost date and its standard deviation for selected North Carolina locations listed by county. Data are for the period 1951 - 1980.
Station Name County Average Date Standard Deviation (days)
Alamance Burlington November 1 11
Anson Wadesboro November 4 12
Ashe Transou October 1 10
Avery Banner Elk October 2 11
Brunswick Southport 5 N November 12 14
Buncombe Asheville October 23 11
. Black Mountain October 17 10
. Bent Creek October 9 11
. Enka October 20 10
Burke Morganton October 18 9
. Hickory October 30 11
Cabarrus Concord November 2 12
Caldwell Lenoir October 21 11
Carteret Morehead City 2 WNW November 19 13
Chatham Siler City 2 NW October 15 10
Cherokee Andrews 2 E October 10 10
Chowan Edenton November 11 12
Cleveland Shelby 2 NNE October 25 9
Columbus Whiteville 7 NW October 31 11
Craven New Bern FAA AP November 9 13
Cumberland Fayetteville October 31 9
Dare Hatteras December 11 15
Davidson Lexington October 31 12
Durham Durham October 24 10
Edgecombe Rocky Mount 8 ESE October 25 10
. Tarboro 1 S October 28 11
Gaston Gastonia November 1 14
Granville Oxford 2 SW October 28 12
Guilford High Point October 30 12
. Greensboro Pump Station October 28 10
. Greensboro WSO AP October 27 10
Haywood Canton 1 SW October 10 9
. Waynesville 1 E October 8 10
. Waterville 2 October 26 12
Henderson Hendersonville 1 NE October 12 9
Hyde New Holland November 11 11
Iredell Statesville 2 NNE October 19 12
Jackson Cullowhee October 11 9
Johnston Smithfield October 25 10
Jones Maysville 6 W October 24 13
Lee Sanford 8 NE October 22 10
Lenoir Kinston 5 E October 29 13
Macon Coweeta Exp Station October 7 8
Highlands 2 S October 22 12
Franklin 1 SSW October 12 8
Madison Marshall October 15 10
Hot Springs 2 October 21 10
Martin Williamston 1 ENE November 3 12
McDowell Marion October 31 13
Mecklenburg Charlotte WSO AP November 5 13
Nash Nashville October 30 11
New Hanover Wilmington WSO AP November 14 13
Wilmington 7 N November 3 12
Northampton Jackson October 26 8
Orange Chapel Hill 2 W October 23 10
Pasquotank Elizabeth City FAA AP November 7 12
Pender Willard 4 SW November 1 12
Pitt Greenville October 30 10
Polk Tryon October 29 11
Randolph Asheboro 2 W October 31 12
Richmond Hamlet October 24 8
Robeson Lumberton 6 NW October 28 12
Rockingham Reidsville 2 NW October 27 11
Rowan Salisbury October 26 10
Rowan Research Station October 20 8
Sampson Clinton October 29 11
Scotland Laurinburg November 1 11
Stanly Albemarle 4 N October 25 12
Surry Mount Airy October 15 9
Transvylvania Pisgah Forest 1 N October 10 7
Brevard October 8 9
Union Monroe 4 SE October 25 10
Vance Henderson 2 NNW October 23 9
Wake Raleigh NCSU Noember 5 13
Raleigh 4 SW November 1 14
Raleigh-Durham WSO AP October 27 9
Washington Plymouth 5 E October 25 11
Watauga Blowing Rock October 11 9
Wayne Goldsboro 1 SSW October 30 9
Wilson Wilson 3 SW October 29 10
Yancey Celo 2 S September 27 18

Author:

Horticultural Science

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Last modified: Jan. 23, 2015, 11:12 a.m.