By Erin Petenko/VTDigger
Hopefully you spent last weekend raking leaves and taking down the Halloween decorations, as temperatures hit unseasonably high levels with low- to mid-70s across central Vermont.
It was the latest in a string of unseasonably warm days in Vermont over the past two weeks. On Oct. 26, Burlington reported a daily average temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit, about 22 degrees higher than the average temperature over the past 30 years.
Along with warmer temperatures, the “frost date,” or the day that the temperature goes below 32 degrees, was Oct. 28, the latest Vermont has reported since at least 1950 and possibly even earlier, according to National Weather Service data.
The frost date has been trending later and later in the past few decades, said , a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
The length of the meteorological “growing season” — the period between the first thaw and the first frost — has lengthened from about 150 days in the 1950s to over 170 days in the past 10 years, and 181 days this year. (The actual growing season for farmers depends on other factors, such as the angle of the sun at different times of the year.)
Whittier said the warmer weather could affect the state’s fire risk in the coming days.
“We’ve got a lot of leaves that have come off the trees. Those leaves have what they call ‘cured,’” he said, meaning they’ve dried out due to lack of rain.
He cautioned against burning leaf piles until it rains (or snows).
Whittier said the warm weather also shouldn’t be an excuse to delay putting snow tires on your car, because the high temperatures won’t last. Temperatures began to drop on Monday and Tuesday, with a high around 50 predicted in central Vermont for Tuesday. Forecast call for temperatures to dip into the 20s most nights for the foreseeable future.
“When it changes, it will change abruptly and people will be like, ‘oh, man,’” he said. “And given that if we’re 75 (degrees) and then say, two weeks from now, our high temperature is only 25 degrees because we’re in a cold snap, that’s 50 degrees difference. We’re going to feel it a lot more than right now.”