First freeze in Philly

Evidently one of the impacts of a warming planet is a lengthening of the growing seasons.

Locally, the spans between the first freeze of autumn and last one of the spring generally has been shrinking.

But this morning we see a triumph of normality.

At 6 a.m., the official reading at the Philadelphia International Airport measuring station was 32, the first time this season that it reached the magic freezing mark.

In popular lore, frost is associated with the pumpkin crop, but in Philly the freezes tend to occur right after Election Day.

The 138-year average for the first freezing reading is Nov. 8. The measuring station has been a moving target in that period, but that is the average.

In the first decade of the new millenium, the aveage was pushed back to Nov. 14, but it was even later in the balmy 1930s, Nov. 16.

By comparison, in the 1960s, the airport was reading 32 by Oct. 25 on average, and the freeze of Oct. 5, 1961, remains the earliest ever.

Last year an 18-year streak ended when the temperature reached freeziing on Oct. 31, right after the snowfall. Before that no 32 reading had been recorded at the airport since 1992.

As for what all this means for the coming winter, we'll go out on a limb and say, "nothing."

After the coastal storm goes away this week, we should be in for a warm spell.

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