Freeze Watch vs. Freeze Warning: What’s the difference?

In the spring and fall you will likely see the National Weather Service issue Freeze Watches and Freeze Warnings.

Here is what you need to know about the two.

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Freeze Watch

Usually issued 24 to 36 hours before temperatures are expected to drop to 32 degrees or below. During the growing season, this can give you time to prepare and protect crops and outside plants.

Freeze Warning

Similar to other warnings, these alerts are letting you know the event is imminent. Widespread temperatures at or below 32 degrees are highly likely. If temperatures are below freezing for the first time in the fall for several hours, it will also signal the end of the growing season.

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When a Freeze Watch is issued, pay attention to the time frame and get ready to protect items from the cold. You’ll want to protect crops, outdoor plants, plumbing and even drain outdoor sprinklers the night before the cold arrives. An upgrade to a Freeze Warning can typically occur the night before the cold air arrives.

So, if a Freeze Watch is issued Wednesday, in the next 24 to 36 hours temperatures are expected to drop to or below freezing.