Freeze watch issued for Thursday night

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WASHINGTON – A freeze watch goes into effect Thursday night through Friday morning for counties west of Interstate 95, bringing with it temperatures in the lower 30s.

The coldest air of the season has moved in and will stay through the weekend, said ABC7 meteorologist Eileen Whalen.

A freeze watch, which includes Fairfax County, Va. and Montgomery County, Md., means that temperatures will be cold enough to kill vegetation, according to the National Weather Service.

Lows in the higher elevations of the WTOP listening area will tumble into the upper 20s Thursday night. For the rest of the region, lows will be in the low- to mid-30s, Whalen said.

With temperatures dropping down, WTOP Garden Editor Mike McGrath said you don’t need to worry about mums and pansies. They’re cold, hardy plants.

But you may want to bring summer plants, houseplants and tropical plants inside.

Summer plants, such as begonias and impatiens, “can survive in a sunny windowsill all winter,” McGrath said.

He suggests you thoroughly pick your vegetable garden.

“If you have tender plants, it’s either time to say goodbye to them, wish them a good life, or bring them inside because the covering gets real old,” McGrath said.

“You don’t want to spend the next 10 days throwing blankets over your tomatoes at night and uncovering them in the morning to get one-tenth more of a ripe tomato,” he said.

If you are going to cover your garden, use a thin, sheer, curtain-like material or a very light bedsheet, not a heavy blanket or plastic, which can crush the plants.

Here’s Whalen’s forecast:

THURSDAY: Sunny with afternoon clouds, breezy and chilly
Highs: 51 to 56
Wind: West 10 mph to 15 mph G, gusting to 20 mph

OVERNIGHT: Mainly Clear and Cold; Freeze Watch west of I-95
Lows: 30 to 38
Wind: West 5 mph to10 mph

FRIDAY: Partly to mostly sunny and still cool, breezy
Highs: 50 to 55
Wind: North 10 mph to 15 mph

SATURDAY: Sunny with increasing clouds late in the day
Highs: Mid- to upper 50s

SUNDAY: Mostly sunny, a bit breezy
Highs: Mid- to upper 50s

MONDAY: Partly to mostly sunny, a touch milder
Highs: Near 60

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