The first freeze of the season is not far away in many areas of the U.S.
While we can’t tell you exactly when the season’s first 32-degree temperature will occur at your house, we can give you an idea of when it typically occurs based on average weather conditions over many years.
The map below shows the average date of the first freeze across the Lower 48 states, according to the most recent 30-year climatological averages (1991-2020) from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.
Keep in mind, however, that the weather doesn't always follow what's considered average. A strong cold front could provide the season's first 32-degree or lower temperature days or even weeks earlier than what's shown on the map below. On the other hand, an upper-level area of high pressure that persists into the fall could push the first freeze of the season later than the date indicated on the map.
Early to mid-September
Early to mid-September is when the first freeze occurs in a typical year for parts of the northern and central Rockies and northern Great Basin. Additionally, areas near the U.S.-Canada border in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest dip to 32 degrees or lower for the first time in mid-September.
The highest mountain peaks in New England and upstate New York – including Maine's Mahoosuc Range, New Hampshire's White Mountains, Vermont's Green Mountains and New York's Adirondack Mountains – also have their first freeze in the middle of September in an average year.
Near the start of October, many areas of the West and Midwest see their first freeze in a typical year. This includes portions of the central Plains and High Plains, Upper Midwest and northern Great Lakes.
A swath from New York’s Adirondacks and Catskills to the Appalachians of west-central Pennsylvania and eastern West Virginia also typically dips to 32 degrees or lower in early October.
The season’s first freeze is at the beginning of October for much of New England in an average year as well.
Most years, a rather large portion of America has its first freeze in the middle of October.
A 32-degree or lower temperature is typically achieved around mid-October in parts of the Four Corners region, most of the central Plains, portions of the upper and mid-Mississippi Valley, the southern Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley and many of the lower elevations of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.
In the Southeast, mid-October is when the first freeze occurs in an average year for the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee and western North Carolina, most of West Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley of western Virginia.
At the beginning of November, portions of southern Oklahoma and western Texas, the mid-South and the interior Southeast record their first freeze of the season in a typical year.
A mid-November first freeze is considered average for much of the West Coast and Desert Southwest, central and eastern Texas, parts of the lower Mississippi Valley and areas along the northeastern Gulf Coast.
December or later
Portions of Southern California, southern and southeastern Texas, southern Louisiana, southeastern Georgia and Florida don’t typically drop to 32 degrees or lower until December or later, but in many years, they may not have a freeze all winter.