Hard freeze expected in KC region early Sunday, but warmer weather is near

Tulips about to burst into bloom are vulnerable in a hard freeze.
Tulips about to burst into bloom are vulnerable in a hard freeze.

Mother Nature apparently wants in on some March Madness, too.

First it was thunderstorms throughout the region Friday night. Then came the snow flurries Saturday morning.

Now she’s taking aim at your plants.

“We are looking for a hard freeze tonight, and we’re expecting temperatures for tomorrow morning to get down into the mid-20s,” Walt Otto, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said Saturday. “With a hard freeze, if you have any tender plants or plants just starting to bud, then I would certainly take precautions to protect them.”

The plants won’t be the only things that need covering, Otto said. If you venture out early Sunday, wind chills will be in the low 20s.

Highs on Saturday struggled to get out of the 30s. The average high this time of year in Kansas City is 61 degrees, and the average low is 38.

But wait.

“There is some good news,” Otto said. “We’re looking for temperatures to slowly warm up on Monday. Temperatures will be near freezing Monday morning, but the highs will actually rebound to almost 60. And for the rest of the week, we’re looking for highs in the 60s.”

Wednesday may even see highs in the mid- to upper 60s, he said.

With the warmer temperatures comes another chance for rain in the middle part of the week.

“If that does occur, it will continue to aggravate the river flooding,” he said. “We still have quite a few rivers in various flood stages across Missouri.”

Most of the current flooding is along the Missouri River and the Grand River near Chillicothe and Sumner, Otto said.

“The rivers are starting to fall,” he said. “They’re still in moderate flood stage, and it looks like they’ll get into minor flood stage on Tuesday.”

The Kansas City region is just a little more than a week away from the date of the average last frost, which is April 8, Otto said. But gardeners shouldn’t let that, along with the upcoming warmer temperatures, lull them into thinking it’s safe to get started on their spring planting.

“If you feel lucky and want to try that,” he said, “just know that it will be a risk.”

Better to wait a few more weeks, he said.

“We’re trying to get April in here so we can warm things up.”