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Below-freezing temps on the way

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — If the warm weather over the last few weeks fooled you into attempting any spring gardening (it’s been over 70 six times already in Albuquerque), be prepared to cover any tender plants this weekend.

The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures well below freezing before dawn Sunday as a windy cold front blows through New Mexico.

Before the cold, expect high winds to pound the metro area this afternoon, with gusts up to 50 mph before cold settles in overnight, dropping temperatures into the 20s across Albuquerque.

While it will feel cold after March’s warm weather, this is not unusual. The average last freeze date in Albuquerque, according to the National Weather Service, is April 13. Last year, our last freeze came April 3. In 2010 and 2011, it spilled over into the first couple of days of May.

It is difficult to generalize about the effect the freeze might have on fruit trees around the metro area because of differing tree types and micro-climates around the region, said Judy Nickell of the Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service.

While some trees around the city are already budding out, the real danger for urban fruit trees comes from late-April freezes, according to the Extension Service.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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