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Possible frost predicted for Hall County
Vegetation susceptible to damage 'if left unprotected'
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A frost advisory has been issued for Hall County through 10 a.m. today.

Temperatures into this morning were expected to plummet to between 33 and 36 degrees for portions of West and North Georgia, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

"Prematurely budding plants, shrubs and trees will be susceptible to these cold temperatures and may suffer frost damage and could be killed if left unprotected," according to the advisory issued Thursday.

Michael Wheeler, Hall County Extension coordinator, recommended covering outdoor plants with a cotton sheet.

Plastic sheeting also works fine, but that should be removed before the sun comes out, he said.

Otherwise, the plants could bake under the plastic.

Cotton is best, because it allows the plants to breathe, he added.

Also, adding a "good layer of mulch helps insulates the plant's roots," he said.

Temperatures are expected to warm up this afternoon, with the high reaching 60 degrees. The warming trend is expected to continue over the weekend and beyond, with a high temperature near 72 on Monday.

Sunny skies also are in the outlook through Wednesday, according to the weather agency.

Meanwhile the drought is expected to worsen in the South, where conditions are expected to be warmer and drier than usual, government forecasters said Thursday.

Like last winter, the Pacific Ocean cooling known as La Nina is affecting the weather, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Dry conditions could extend from Southern California east across drought-stricken Texas and Oklahoma and along the Gulf Coast into Florida and possibly north to Virginia.

While the forecast is not guaranteed, it could be more bad news for drought-stricken regions.

Already 91 percent of Texas, 87 percent of Oklahoma and 63 percent of New Mexico are in extreme or exceptional drought, said David Brown, director of Southern Regional Climate Services for NOAA.

Unusually dry conditions also extend into Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Continued dry conditions will affect farming, livestock and other pursuits.

It would take 10 inches to 15 inches of rain in some areas to make an appreciable difference, Brown said, and "the likelihood of seeing that kind of relief is pretty low."

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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