Midwest Average First Frost / Freeze / Snow

Posted: October 3, 2017, 1:39 pm by zchabala

The long days of summer have come and gone, and we are now well into Autumn. Pumpkins, Halloween, and changing leaves are just some of the reasons that many people love this season. With all of the great things that come along with Autumn, much cooler air is certainly one of them. Before long, chilly nights and cooler days will begin to settle in. The first frost and freeze of the year typically occur by the end of October or the beginning of November, marking the end of the growing season, and starting the trek through the coldest months of the year. Even the first snowflakes of the season tend to fly during the months of Fall. Whether you love the cold or hate it, cooler weather is on the way. 

Below is a table of dates when the following Autumn landmarks occur for the first time, on average: first frost, first freeze dates, and the first measurable snow (0.1" or more). This table covers some of the major cities across the Midwest. 

Location        Average First Frost  Average First Freeze  Average First Measurable Snow
Chicago, IL

October 23rd (City)

October 13th (Suburbs)

November 8th (City)

November 3rd (Suburbs)

November 18th
Indianapolis, IN October 14th November 2nd November 23rd
Dayton, OH October 22nd November 1st November 22nd
Columbus, OH October 27th November 7th November 21th
Cincinnati, OH October 22nd November 7th November 28th

Data courtesy of the National Weather Service offices in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Wilmington

Suburban and rural areas outside the cities tend to experience their first frost and freeze earlier than the city itself. Below are maps that show the average days when the first frost and freeze occurs by county. 

Courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center

Forensic Coordinator / Associate Meteorologist
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