Survey: National Weather Service seeking opinions on frost and freeze alerts

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Looking ahead to the next growing season the National Weather Service is working to improve communication for frost and freeze events.

Currently, there are five different alerts, Frost Advisory, Freeze Watch, Freeze Warning, Hard Freeze Watch, and Hard Freeze Warning.

A survey is available through Dec. 17. The National Weather Service hopes to learn how each alert is used by the public, and if there are ways to improve the current system.

Michael Bellanca says growers in the Miami Valley pay close attention to freeze warnings in the spring. He is the manager at Siebenthaler’s South in Centerville.

“I think warning probably is the one that really gets people’s attention,” Bellanca said.

“Freezing tells me that it’s too cold for the plants, so I pay more attention to the freezing,” Susan Hayes said.

Hayes said she didn’t pay attention to the National Weather Service warnings shared by Siebenthaler’s last spring.

“All the plants that I planted got frostbite,” Hayes said. “I had to replant them, and start all over again. So this fall when the temperatures got really cold, I cleaned out all of my gardens ahead of time.”

Bellanca said leafy plants are very sensitive to a late-season freeze.

“I think that the beginning of the season is way more important because that’s when a lot of things are starting to bud out,” Bellanca said.

He said the warnings allow people to cover plants ahead of time.

A few plants like the Christmas rose can still be planted this time of year. Bellanca said they should be planted in the ground because the roots will get too cold in a pot.

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