Ask The Weatherman: Can I Plant Tomatoes, Start Sprinkler System Yet?

in Don Day

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No. No. No.

That’s not the voice of a toddler having a meltdown. Rather it’s Wyoming’s weatherman Don Day answering the same questions he gets this time of year — every year.

It’s Groundhog Day for him. Not like the Feb. 2 holiday but rather like the movie.

The meteorologist says in late April and early May he always gets asked the same three things:

  1. Is it OK to plant tomatoes?
  2. Is it OK to start-up the sprinkler system?
  3. Is it done snowing?

The answer to these questions is always the same:  No.  

Seems like people in the Rocky Mountain West have a short memory.

Just last year, listeners in the region where his podcast is targeted experienced snow through the third week of June.  Not a typo.  June.

That doesn’t mean the really cold temperatures went along with that snow.  But it does mean that we’re not out of the woods yet.  We probably have about three weeks before, as he puts it, we can start to breathe easier.

“You have to remind yourself that it is usually the second or third week of May before our average last frost/freeze date,” he said.

Day said even though areas in Wyoming will see temperatures in the 80s on Thursday, don’t expect the Cowboy State to be be free of snow for two to three more weeks.

“We tend to have to get through the middle part of May,” he said. “It’s usually around or after Mother’s Day weekend before we’re done with the stuff.”

Even though the Arctic days are probably behind us, Day recommends not starting-up your sprinkler system yet.

“While we are probably done with severe freezing, we aren’t done with freezing.  So if you want to wait and let Mother Nature bring the rain.  Hold off on that sprinkler system, certainly I would.”

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